In a recent post to his over 160 million followers on Instagram, international pop star, Justin Bieber, shared a photo of an incident that took place seven years ago as the police led the pop star away in handcuffs. He had just been arrested in Florida on Jan 23, 2014, for driving under the influence and with an invalid license.
In his post, Bieber simply shared how far God has brought him since those early days when he was constantly having run-ins with the law.
“7 years ago today I got was arrested, not my finest hour.
“Not proud of where I was at in my life. I was hurting, unhappy, confused, angry, mislead, misunderstood and angry at God.
“I also wore too much leather for someone in Miami.
“All this to say God has brought me a long way. From then til now I do realize something.. God was as close to me then as he is right now.
“My encouragement to you is to ‘let your past be a reminder of how far god has brought you’.
“Don’t allow shame to ruin your “today” let the forgiveness of Jesus take over and watch your life blossom into all that God has designed you to be.
“LOVE YOU GUYS WITH MY WHOLE HEART.”
Bieber’s transformation over the last few years has been remarkable and his testimony reveals two important things.
First, in the book of Revelation, the apostle writes in the end times that a person’s testimony, combined with the blood of Jesus, actually conquered Satan:
11 And they have conquered him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, for they loved not their lives even unto death. Revelation 12:11 ESV)
The word “conquered” is the Greek word “nikao” has a funny meaning. The word actually means that the victory is so complete that a person has been “transferred from battle to other conflicts.” In other words, the triumph is so overwhelming, there is no hope of the enemy regathering his forces for a counter-attack.
This is the power of your testimony and the blood of Christ.
Secondly, Justin’s testimony reveals another important point. The Apostle Paul tells us to never compare ourselves with others. Especially, we are not to compare ourselves to others who have accomplished many things in God (2 Corinthians 10:12).
Rather we should focus on how far we have come and how much God has changed our lives just as Bieber did. The only comparison allowed is comparing ourselves with ourselves.
And just as importantly everyone’s timing is different. In the parable of the workers found in Matthew 20: 1-16, Jesus tells how a man went to the market at 9 AM looking for people to work a vineyard and found several who he agreed to a day’s pay of one denarius.
Still needing more workers, the owner returned throughout the day finding more workers and hiring them.
At the end of the day, the owner paid all the workers the same one denarius even though five men hired later in the day had only worked one hour. This resulted in several men hired earlier complaining about the unfairness.
But what struck me about this story is that the five men hired at the end of the day needed work, but for whatever reason they couldn’t make it for the 9 AM call. There were things that prevented them from getting there. Life got in the way.
And this principle applies to all of us. There are things in our lives that we need to deal with and some of us will simply take longer than others. But in God’s kingdom it is not how long you worked, but that you made it.