There’s no doubt that we’ve been seeing Justin Bieber talk more and more about his growing faith as a Christian. From his recent interview with Complex magazine to the lyrics to his latest song “Purpose”, and even that story about him inviting a journalist to church, we’ve personally been encouraged to hear about his faith journey.
In this recent video with Zach Sang and the Gang, Justin “stopped by to hang while in studio and opened up about Christianity and his newfound thoughts on God.” He shared a bit about how he’d been going through a dark time, stayed with a pastor for a little while and decided to revisit his Christian roots, which has led to this growing change.
Some might find this encouraging, others hypocritical, but I think we should remember that we all had to start somewhere. Not only that, but this walk is a process for all of us, Justin Bieber included. I actually found it refreshing to hear a few points he made that so many of us sometimes have missed or forgotten, and I think we can even learn a thing or two here. Let’s quickly talk about three key topics we can pull from this awesome video.
Justin talked about how sometimes we as Christians live by this idea that “our works” make us right with God or that we have to do a bunch of “good and perfect” things to earn His love. We live in a society of earning and rewarding. You have to work to get a paycheck, study hard to get a good grade and earn back trust if you’ve hurt a friend. Let’s face it—in this life, you have to do to get. But we know that the Bible says things like “Christ died while we were yet sinners,” “He who began the work in you will carry it unto completion” and “it is God who works in you, both to will and work for good pleasure.” This is the entire idea of coming to Christ. It’s called sanctification.
Sanctification is a progressive holiness. It’s the whole idea that it is the Spirit of God that does the work inside of us, and that apart from this, our works are vain. There’s a difference between putting trust in our own actions to make us right, like the Pharisees, and giving ourselves in full surrender to God as He continues to work within us to make us more like Jesus over time. Little by little He uproots the things that are not of Him, from the depths of our heart, transforms our desires and renews our minds. It’s just not as much an external work as it is an internal work that changes the way we live. We don’t come to Jesus “right”; He comes into our messed-up and flawed lives, and begins a work in us that progressively transforms our hearts to live a life holy and pleasing to God.
2. Religion doesn’t define our faith.
When we context the word “religion,” we’re talking in terms of going to church, saying all the “Christian” things and doing every other act of ingrained religious tradition. It really goes back to the whole idea of trusting in our own deeds rather than having an authentic and personal relationship with God. Scripture talks about this type of person in Matthew 7:21-23—the person who will claim they did many things in Jesus’ name, but He denies them and says, “I never knew you.”
But God knows everyone. How is this possible? Well, in the context of a relationship, both people have to be intentional about getting to know one another personally for it to be real. If we do all the Christian things, but never pursue a real relationship with Christ, then our “faith” is in vain. We’ve missed the entire point of the Gospel, which is that Jesus came so that we could be in right standing before God. By pardoning our sins, it gave us the ultimate and only opportunity ever to have an intimate relationship with Him.
While Justin does make a point that going to church doesn’t make you a Christian, I do believe a Christian should want to go to church. I found my relationship with God broken down on my bathroom floor, not in a church, but there was a pursuit to know Him better from that point on. So how are we defining our faith: by what we do and where we go, or the intimacy of Who we know?
3. We were made to be in relationship with people.
I absolutely love that Justin mentioned this, as brief as it was toward the end. It’s obvious that the world is made up of people and in that system we’re meant to be in relationship with one another. More importantly, Christ tells us the two most essential of all commands are to love God and love people. The thriving relationships we have with others are just a glimpse of the fact that we have a relational God. His creation is a mirror of His attributes. We were never created to be alone, to live life in isolation or to view this life as us against the world. In fact, Romans 12:18 encourages us to try to find peace with all people. These points are the very basics of our faith. It’s good to think about and evaluate how we’re doing.
I’m honestly praying that Justin’s faith and His walk will continue to grow even past the pressures of Hollywood.
What do you think, ladies? Will you pray with me?