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Column — Act like a follower of Jesus

In… not of.

Church folk often talk about how followers of Jesus are to be in the world but not of the world. What exactly does this mean? Let’s begin with a story of Marlon Brando.

In the early 1940s, Brando took acting classes in New York where actress Stella Adler took him under her wing. It is told how in one of these classes, Adler asked the students to act like chickens who had just found out a nuclear bomb was about to be dropped on them. Almost the entire class franticly began running around the room clucking and flapping crazily, except for Marlon Brando who sat calmly while pretending to lay an egg. Once the exercise was over, Brando was asked why he chose to react as he did instead of clucking and running around like everyone else.

His response was perfect: “I’m a chicken — what do I know about bombs?”

Have we Christians forgotten that we are followers of Christ?

Have we forgotten that we are called to be in this world — but not act like we are of this world? You see, “in” shows a point of location. You live here.

You are physically in this world. “Of,” however, is a source of information. When it comes to the way we talk, the way we love, the way we act/react, can folks easily tell we are followers of Jesus Christ?

Jesus tells us, “They are not of the world, even as I am not of it,” (John 17:16) showing how even though he was in the world at that moment — He was not of the world in the way He lived or loved.

The apostle Paul tells us, “Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.” (Romans 12:2)

John tells us in 1 John 2:15, “Do not love this world nor the things it offers you, for when you love the world, you do not have the love of the Father in you.”

Marlon Brando knew that a chicken has no clue what a bomb might be — he simply acted like a chicken. Church, it is not our job to just blend in and act like those around us. Followers of Jesus are not called to live for ourself, nor are we called to blend in with the sin. Even though we are in this world — we ain’t gotta act like we are of this world. Life isn’t about us.

Jesus even tells in Matthew 16:26, “What good is it to gain the whole world, yet forfeit your soul?”

Are you a follower of Jesus? Act like it.

Rev. J. Cameron Bailey is pastor of Kenbridge Christian Church. He can be reached at jamescameronbailey@gmail.com.