“Some of you may not be used to this kind of atmosphere, but what you’re feeling right now is the presence of God,” Justin Bieber said at this summer’s Freedom Experience in Los Angeles, California.
Bieber has become more outspoken for the role faith has played in his upbringing as well as his redemption from behavior that led to Bieber’s arrest several times in 2014 with offenses that ranged from driving under the influence of alcohol and vandalism.
“He doesn’t need perfect people, he wants to use average, ordinary broken people like us.”
Justin Bieber’s faith has been seemingly strengthened (and tested) as he has developed friendships with pastors including Judah Smith and former Hillsong NYC Pastor Carl Lentz. Bieber’s also been surprisingly transparent with his struggles with depression and mental health issues.
“Man, I’m tired of religion you know. I’m tired of religion and I’m tired of division. I just want to know what it looks like to love people you know. I know that Jesus goes to where the broken people are,” Bieber continued at The Freedom Experience this summer at the new SoFI Stadium.
“No one’s got it together, you know. We do got hope, and his name is Jesus and he’s changed my life, he’s changed my life, he’s changed my life.
Bieber’s faith walk has been on display for readily in recent years. He’s spoken out about his Christian upbringing and the influence of his mother who taught him about the Lord. The fame and temptations that Bieber experienced however led him away from God for a season. Yet, like the prodigal son, Bieber appears to have come home and is taking steps forward in his faith.
“I know there are people going through challenges right now all over the world, For me, I found a community that made me feel safe and loved and I definitely want that for you,” Bieber shared in a recent video with 1 Day LA.
In GQ’s article, The Redemption of Justin Bieber, author Zach Baron writes, “ Two things brought Justin Bieber back, ultimately: his marriage and his faith. What they had in common was that they were value systems that didn’t depend on him performing in exchange for money. Bieber talks a lot about “have to” versus “want to”—his life has been mostly shaped by the former, in the sense that from a young age, he was brought up primarily not by his parents but by managers and bodyguards and label executives, whose purpose and presence, however benevolent, was to keep the business on track.”
Some of his more recent song releases share his faith in a more public way with his faith with songs including Purpose, where he sings:
I put my all into your hands
Here’s my soul to keep
I let you in with all that I can
You’re not hard to reach
In an emotionally raw appearance this summer, Bieber opened up about some of his own struggles with mental illness, depression, and more before inviting Smith to the stage to share the message of Jesus with those in attendance.
Faith conversations are becoming more and more common for Bieber. He recently made appearances with Maverick City Music, singing the new hit single “Jireh”.
Then there’s original music Bieber has produced that relates his faith and growing relationship with Jesus Christ, notably his new single: Where you go I will follow:
But Lord, You always come and save me
God Almighty, my safety
You’re my end, You’re my new beginning
You’re my home, The One I confide in
You’re the very air I breathe
The reason that I sing
Further while at the new SoFi Stadium, Bieber performed solo and then collaborated with other Christian artists, Tori Kelly and Chandler Moore on a new single, Where Do I Fit In, featuring lyrics including:
I know You’re not a God out there hiding on mountains, oh, no
You come right where I am, lost my way, but You found me
Bieber has also went viral in the past on social media singing, “I could sing of your love forever.” More recently, he collaborated with Chandler Moore and Maverick City to sing their hit single, “Jireh” – a song that peaked at No. 8 on the US Hot Christian Songs chart, and at No. 1 on the Hot Gospel Songs chart.
Hillsong Church founder, Brian Houston touted Bieber’s change as a case study in the impact the church has made. He told Today’s Savannah Guthrie,
“One person who’s obviously been well reported is Justin Bieber,” Houston shared. “If you think back several years now when he was wrecking hotel rooms and basically on the edge of getting deported to Canada, there was certainly talk about that and living an out-of-control life with abuse of drugs and so on. And look at Justin Bieber today. Anyone who’s being fair could see a radical change, and so not everything about [Hillsong] is bad.”
It’s becoming clearer that Bieber’s faith has provided the foundation and anchor he needed to come full circle, returning to his faith and taking intentional steps to walk it out, through the valley of the shadow of death and now seemingly on the other side. Thankfully he’s now using his platform to point people to Jesus, the only One who can meet our deepest needs.