I didn’t suddenly morph into a perfect Christian right after I surrendered to Jesus. Not even close. My mouth needed some cleaning up, my lies needed time to fold into truth, and my porn-burned eyes and brain took years to heal.
Needless to say, sanctification is a process. For most of us, it takes time to prove by our fruit that we’re committed followers (Colossians 1:10). God chips away at the rough edges over years. Even 11 years later, I’m still a work in progress.
That’s why I’m pretty sympathetic when it comes to the enigmatic, mercurial actor Shia LaBeouf. He’s a guy I’ve watched since he appeared in the movie Holes—and sadly, his slow breakdown has been on display for everyone to see. For all his public shenanigans, though, I know there’s grace. His drug issues, plagiarism, masks, and weird public acts smack of a man desperate to fill a void. And now, he says, that void is filled in a surprising way:
“I found God doing [the movie] Fury. I became a Christian man… in a very real way. I could have just said the prayers that were on the page. But it was a real thing that really saved me. And you can't identify unless you're really going through it. It's a full-blown exchange of heart, a surrender of control.”
I had to edit that above quote just a bit because of salty language, and no one could be blamed for doubting the sincerity of a man who recently starred in a porn-on-the-big-screen movie called Nymphomaniac. If you keep reading the interview, you’ll also see that his theology needs some major refining as well, since he thinks Brad Pitt’s all-roads-lead-to-God views are just as okay.
But I’m willing to believe here—not only because of my past, but because of what I’m seeing in LaBeouf’s changed demeanor (case in point: his recent appearance on the Ellen show in this clip). Could I be wrong? Sure. But some people doubted my Jesus-changed life, too… until many years later. So, let’s pray for the guy, that this change is real, that God continues to work on him, and that he becomes a witness for Christ in Hollywood.
In a recent article on Jesus.org, Dr. Matthew Harmon tackled the questions many have about what “real salvation” looks like and why we can have doubts:
“The Bible clearly teaches that the moment a person turns from his sin and trusts in Jesus to be forgiven of his sin, he is saved (Acts 2:37–41). He has passed from spiritual death to spiritual life (John 5:24) and been declared not guilty in God's court of law (Rom 3:21–26). From God's perspective his salvation is an objective reality that cannot be changed (Rom 8:28–30).
“But from our subjective experience, we may not feel certain. The difficulties of life and discouragement over our sin can lead us to question the reality of our salvation. Or perhaps we read one of the ‘warning’ passages about turning away from the faith or the unforgivable sin and wonder if we are truly saved.”
We know the starting point (Hebrews 12:2), but the road can be pretty bumpy.
What about you? Did any doubt your salvation as first? What do you think about Shia LaBeouf’s confession?