Canadian singer/songwriter Justin Bieber burst onto the music scene as a 14-year-old in 2008 after he was spotted on YouTube by a talent manager and immediately signed to a record deal.
Justin’s first album hit the chart at number one in 2010. He released four studio albums between 2010 and 2015, My World (2010), Under the Mistletoe (2011), Believe (2012) and Purpose (2015). All of them reached number one in his homeland Canada, and in the US, which is the world’s largest music market. He has already sold over a hundred million records in his short career. From his discovery in 2009, young Mr Bieber quickly became a teen pop idol with worldwide success.
‘Falling From Grace.’
But Justin struggled with the trappings of fame and success and he had a number of run-ins with the law from 2012 onwards. Driving misdemeanours, assault charges, apparent racist comments and other minor offences meant that he was banned from performing in China. When pressed for a reason for the ban, the Beijing Municipal Bureau of Culture said,
“Justin Bieber is a gifted singer, but he is also a controversial young foreign singer, and in order to maintain order in the Chinese market and purify the Chinese performance environment, it is not suitable to bring in badly behaved entertainers.”
Bieber’s behaviour had reached an all-time low. Although he was originally raised in a Christian home and understood Christian beliefs and Principles, a lack of sincerity in some of the Christians he knew left him cold. Justin subsequently drifted away from faith as a young teenager.
But fame and popularity did not fill the void inside of him. No longer the squeaky clean star of teenage pop, Bieber was empty inside. He was in his lowest moment.
Restoration Through Love.
Justin decided to revisit Christianity. He spent over two weeks with Carl Lentz, the pastor of Hillsong Church New York. During that time, he learned that:
“We love each other because he [God] loved us first.” (1 John 4:19) NLT
Understanding that it all starts with God, that God’s love for us empowers us to love others, his whole life changed. Through Lentz’s teaching he realised that God loves us no matter what we are or what we do, but that doesn’t give us a license to behave immorally. Bieber says he came to understand that;
“…He loves you no matter what. It doesn’t mean you can go do what you want … But if I love my girlfriend, I’m not going to cheat on her because I love her so much .. You develop a relationship with God [and] you don’t want to be judgemental .. [or] hurt people.”
Instead of a religion, Justin realised that the Christian faith is a relationship with God our maker, our father.
“If we’re made on this Earth to have relationships with people, then that’s how our God is supposed to be – not just this idea or this thing.”
In 2017, Bieber Posted the following message on Twitter to his 95 million followers:
Do you feel you have exhausted all options? Do you feel helpless? Do you feel like you are never good enough? What if I told you that there’s a God that’s willing to meet you WHEREVER you’re at! What if I told you he could take away your pain, shame, guilt, and fears. #JESUS
Justin also added a personal note to his post:
“Jesus is changing me from the inside out every day!”
That’s good news for Justin and for his millions of fans.
Story by Ralph Burden
Photo: Justin Bieber at Roseville, Illinois, 2015 by Daniel V, Creative Commons Generic 2.0 License.