Launching his music career more than two decades ago, Charles Billingsley has headlined more than 3,000 concerts and released 24 recordings as a solo artist. Behind the big voice and numerous accolades, he is simply a man on a mission for the Kingdom.
PM: I was listening to your song “I Let My Heart Open.” The line “My whole life I knew about You, but I never really knew You” made me wonder if that related to your personal testimony.
CB: That song resonated with me because I have many friends who are like that. I always tell people, “God saved me from stuff instead of out of stuff.”
My dad was a preacher, we traveled around the country doing revivals. I was six years old, in Salt Lake City, Utah, of all places when I met the Lord. But, growing up through high school, I didn’t fully grasp the concept of worship and serving the Lord until later on.
With that song, it sounds like it is my testimony—and from a sense it is. From a deepening-my-walk sense, it is; but I met the Lord when I was young. My dad was an evangelist, he would go around and preach in all these churches all over the country, so I heard the Gospel thousands of times.
PM: You mentioned how God spoke to you and confirmed your calling. How do you personally hear God?
CB: Faith comes by hearing, and hearing comes through the Word of God. You can’t really hear God unless you’re in His Word. I think God speaks to us in a variety of ways: through prayer, through others, through circumstances, and primarily through His Word.
It’s like anything else. You never know 100%. But here’s one thing I know: God didn’t split the waters of the Jordan until He had Joshua step his foot inside. Learning the will of God is not understanding the whole planet at once—it’s learning how to have enough faith to take the first step. And if you take the first step, it’s amazing how He’ll help you take the next one. He never reveals every step to you at once. You go as far as you know to go. You do all that you can do with all that you have, with the resources He’s given you, and then you make an educated decision based off of faith.
When God called Abraham to the land of Ur, Abraham didn’t know where that was, he was clueless. We all are. But that’s what makes the Christian life such an adventure.
Here’s another thing: God would rather us be in a place of faith than comfort. He says, “No, I want you to be where you’re not comfortable, where you’re going to have to rely on Me.” That’s when the adventure starts. That’s what makes the Christian life so exciting. That’s one thing I’d like to tell young people who are still adventurous, who are still willing to, as Mark Batterson would say, “Chase that 500-pound lion.”
I say, “Go for it.” Not in ignorance, but in faith. And faith is exactly what Hebrews 11 says it is. It’s the evidence of things unseen and the substance of things hoped for. So you base your decision off of that.
Continue reading YS’ interview with Charles Billingsley in the December YS available now at your local corps.
—Captain Pamela Maynor, Editor of Young Salvationist