To the surprise of many, in recent year’s pop megastar Justin Bieber has become increasingly open about his Christian faith. The once certified bad boy of Hollywood has taken a turn for the better, allowing Christ to come into his life and transform him.
His testimony, though at first might seem a bit unrelatable, is actually one all Christians can learn from. While most of us have not grown up under the spotlight of Hollywood, most of us have gone through periods in our life where we didn’t have it all together.
Bieber was able to find Jesus when he needed Him the most. It’s a powerful reminder that God is going to be by anyone’s side, no matter whom they are or where they have come from.
In just one night it seemed like everything had caught up to the young star. Beiber felt that he had hit rock bottom; the drugs, tabloids, and women all were too much.
It was 2014 and Bieber was staying with Carl Lentz, pastor of Hillsong Church, New York. Lentz began talking to Bieber after an introduction from a West Coast pastor, Judah Smith. Though Bieber was surrounded for years by Christian leaders, he hadn’t been listening to their message, at least not at first.
As Bieber sobbed on his knees of Lentz' apartment, he finally reached out and admitted that he needed Jesus. The two of them prayed together. It was then that Bieber than asked for Lentz to baptize him. Lentz initially wanted to find a date a time for the occasion, but Bieber knew that he wanted it to happen right then and there.
“The choices he had made ― he got to a place where he was like, ‘I want to start fresh.’” Lentz says.
With the paparazzi circling the two it was hard to find a place to perform the ceremony at first.
“We went to four different places,” Lentz says. “I finally called my buddy Tyson Chandler.”
Chandler, a professional basketball player living in New York at the time, received the phone call from Lentz around 3 a.m. “I’m like, ‘Yeah, I need to borrow your [rooftop] pool,’” Lentz says. “He’s like, ‘I can’t get into the pool, but come and use my bathtub.’”
Chandler, being over seven feet tall, had a tub that was large enough to baptize Bieber. Chandler’s wife Kim got out food and drinks for the occasion, and placed towels around the tub. Though it was in the early morning hours, the baptism was a powerful and gave the star a new view of the world. The group gathered and prayed with Bieber as his life transformed.
Growing up as a child star.
After being discovered on YouTube in the late 2000s, Bieber blew up what felt like overnight. Bieber’s ‘Baby’ became one of the most popular music videos ever and shot him right into the public eye. Millions of young teens swooned over the new star, while others bashed him outright.
Unsurprisingly, Bieber found it difficult to adjust to his heightened profile, quickly going off the rails and hitting tabloid front pages on a regular basis for teenage pranks, drugs, turning up late for gigs or smashing up sports cars. He followed in the footsteps of many young troubled stars. However, was "still unfulfilled," despite all the money, awards and fame.
"I started doing pretty heavy drugs at 19 and abused all my relationships," Bieber wrote in an Instagram post. "I became resentful, disrespectful to women...hiding behind a shell of a person that I had become."
Beiber grew up in a Christian home, but like many Christians that faith was really one that was from his parents.
“He has had a relationship with Jesus, and his mom did a great job doing her best to plant the right seeds. But you can get to a point as a man where it goes from being your mama’s relationship...to yours,” Lentz says.
Beiber’s mother also went through some tough times. As a young adult, she was considering suicide. She found out a few months later that she was pregnant with Justin. Unmarried and afraid of how she ruined her own life, she at first was scared to turn to the church.
When she did, though, they taught her the love of Christ. It was then she decided she was going to raise Justin to know Him too. She dedicated his life at a church in Ontario and took him on mission trips and to Toronto Blessing revival meetings. This gave the foundation for Justin to find God later on in his life.
Looking to the future.
For the last few years, the singer has attended services by the Hillsong Church regularly and has even begun leading a few services. Despite what he went through growing up, he has now found peace with Jesus.
"I felt like I could never turn it around," he said. "It's taken me years to bounce back from all these terrible decisions, fix broken relationships, and change relationship habits."
He got married to Hailey Baldwin, who also supports his Christian faith. The pair decided to remain celibate until they got married.
Now, Justin is happier, healthier, and stronger than ever because of his faith.
"Luckily God blessed me with extraordinary people who love me for me," Beiber said, adding that the "best season" of his life, marriage, is teaching him "patience, trust, commitment, kindness, humility, and all of the things it looks like to be a good man."
“I am set free from bondage and shame, I am a child of the most high God and he loves me exactly where I am, how I am, for who I am.”