Tony Gaskins, Jr.: Saving the Preacher's Son
By Aaron Little and Amy Reid
The 700 Club
Gangs, drugs, and crime. In many low income neighborhoods, these vices are a way of life. For Tony Gaskins, Jr., this lifestyle was rebellion against what he knew was right.
“I was raised a Christian. I knew where I was supposed to be. I knew where I was supposed to be going with God in a sense that I wanted to end up living right and doing the right things, but…”
He continues, “I began trying to do what I saw the big guys around the neighborhood doing, you know, selling drugs and stealing and things like that.”
The money and respect was attractive to Tony, but he knew better. Not only was he a Christian, he was the son of a minister.
“I went from being a church boy to being a thug overnight, basically. Just searching for myself and trying to declare my manhood like so many young men do. You look up to the drug dealers and the guys with the money or the guys that all the girls want. From the age of 18-23, I was just in a back slidden state -- fornicating, stealing, robbing, selling drugs.”
Tony kept ignoring God, and his drug dealing reached an all-time high. Then his car was stolen.
“I had a 2005 Impala. I had put some 22-inch rims on it. I had TVs in it. Everything that I had, put my whole life [and] my whole heart into being flashy. Trying to look successful, but being empty on the inside. Having no real peace, no real happiness, but to the world, looks like, ‘Man, he’s made it.’”
Tony says, “But God wasn’t in it. So He allowed the devil to take it from me. When I lost that, that was the last straw.”
Tony’s identity had been stripped away along with his car, and now he had a choice to make.
“I saw that being in the world, living for the devil, the lying, the cheating, the beating, the drugs, and all of that, there’s no security. There’s no promises. There’s no rules to his game. The devil will build you up, and then he’ll snatch you down.
“And I said, ‘It’s not worth it. I’m done. I vow from this day forward that I will live for You. I’ll let my people know that the only thing that matters in life is our service for You.’ I told God that I’ll allow my story to bring Him glory. ‘Lord, I’ll take my pain to give You praise. God, I’m not going to try to trick You. I’m not gonna try to pimp You. I’m not gonna try to pray for strength and healing, and then a week later go back to the streets. I’m done forever, because I know my calling.’ I was like the prodigal son. God brought me back in.”
Today, Tony lives in Florida with his wife and young son. He says, “God showed me that you’re put here for [His] glory. You’re put here for service. I want to be just like Christ. When you strive for that, it puts you on a whole other level.”
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