FILE – In this Nov. 7, 2015 file photo, Justin Bieber arrives at the Cannes festival palace in Cannes, southeastern France. Beverly Hills police said Thursday, Aug. 3, 2017, that Bieber will not face any criminal penalties after he accidentally struck a paparazzo with his pickup truck after leaving an event on July 26. They also say Bieber will not face any traffic citations. (AP Photo/Lionel Cironneau, File)
Perhaps to some, Justin Bieber is just some rich young punk.
But as I see it, he’s a guy who’s faced the kind of success that’s poised to destroy body, mind, and spirit.
And he’s come through that with the desire and effort to live humbly, and in service to his Creator.
Discovered as a child via YouTube, the songbird released his 2009 hit debut record at the age of 15.
And from chartmasters.org:
The career total of over 66.1 million equivalent albums makes Justin Bieber one of the youngest artists ever to reach such numbers.
The Biebs’s reported net worth: $285 million.
And keep in mind: That isn’t $285 business-success million. It’s $285 girls-screaming-and-try-to-tear-off-your-clothes million. And ten years of it.
How many young people could handle that kind of success? Charlie Sheen, anyone?
Despite the crazy world within which Justin went through puberty, upon his engagement to now-wife (and fellow Christian) Hailey Baldwin, he announced a promise of abstinence.
At the time, the star put it this way to Vogue:
“[God] doesn’t ask us not to have sex for him because he wants rules and stuff. He’s like, I’m trying to protect you from hurt and pain. I think sex can cause a lot of pain. Sometimes people have sex because they don’t feel good enough. Because they lack self-worth. Women do that, and guys do that. I wanted to rededicate myself to God in that way because I really felt it was better for the condition of my soul. And I believe that God blessed me with Hailey as a result. There are perks. You get rewarded for good behavior.”
And in a Sunday-published interview with Apple Music’s Zane Lowe to promote his new record, Justin explained that his faith in Jesus Christ saved him.
And not just belief, but obedience:
“I really took a deep dive in my faith. I believed in Jesus but I never really, like…when it says following Jesus is actually turning away from sin, and so there’s no, it talks about it in the Bible, there’s no faith without obedience.”
According to the “Baby” singer, there were some less-than-shining examples of religion in his sight:
“I think it was my perception of who Jesus really was. I’d had really bad examples of Christians in my life, who would say one thing and do another, so they were my direct example of who Jesus was.”
But he turned his heart toward God, and his life changed.
Part of that transformation was accepting grace:
“The way I look at God and my relationship with Jesus is I’m not trying to earn God’s love by doing good things. God has already loved me for who I am before I did anything to earn or deserve it. It’s a free gift by accepting Jesus, giving your life to him, and what he did is the gift. The forgiveness is the thing that we look at and we go, you know, I’m going to worship you, God, because you gave me something so good.”
Here’s the bottom line: He believes the Son of God met him where he was. And rescued him.
And he wants others to know they can experience it, too:
“Jesus wasn’t this religious elite guy…but he was in the dirt, and he found me in my dirt and pulled me out. I never want to be someone that’s trying to persuade anyone to believe in what I believe. I think God persuades people. But I definitely want to tell my story so that if that resonates with anybody they can hopefully learn from it.”
Justin believes he’s saved — in a very literal sense.
Zane asked, “Do you think that if you hadn’t redefined what Jesus was and reclaimed it into something that was worthy of practice for you, which then led you on a path of reconciliation with your wife, do you the person that — the you of then — was on a path of self-destruction? Do you think you were self-destructing?”
“Oh, for sure. Yeah. I would’ve, for sure. 100%. Yeah. 100%. … It was bad. … I don’t know if I would be alive for sure. It was dark. Very dark.”
Music these days is no stranger to messages outside of faith, hope, and love. But Justin Bieber wants the world to know the value of those virtues. Plus another seminal and yet rarely championed ideal: Redemption.
As he tries to be worthy of it himself.
Good luck in your pursuits, Justin.
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