The Moment Steve McQueen’s Life Changed

He was a Hollywood bad boy and headstrong thrill-seeker, drawn to drugs, women, fast cars and motorcycles. At the height of his stardom in the 1960s and ’70s, Steve McQueen was at the top of his game, yet the “King of Cool” was still searching for something more. That’s the subject of a new documentary, Steve McQueen: American Icon.

With an alcoholic mother and a string of abusive stepfathers, McQueen had always wanted a real dad in his life—someone to look up to. He found a father figure in his flight instructor, Sammy Mason, who answered his countless questions about faith and told him about the perfect Father, God Himself.

Little by little, this lead role in The Great Escape stopped running in the opposite direction of God. Three months after McQueen and his wife started attending Mason’s church in California, McQueen invited the pastor to lunch and asked another round of questions. Could he really be forgiven? What does it look like to follow Jesus Christ?

With a slew of fictional movies under his belt, this actor wanted to know the truth.

It was during that lunch that the pastor, Leonard DeWitt, asked McQueen about his own beliefs, and McQueen shared that he had devoted his life to Christ a few weeks back. He had a new purpose and an ever-softening demeanor.

Six months later, in late 1979, McQueen was diagnosed with cancer. Although he wanted to live, friends and family could see he was also at peace. If and when he died, he said, he knew where he was going.

On Nov. 3, 1980, four days before his death, one of McQueen’s wishes came true. He’d wanted to meet evangelist Billy Graham for some time, and on that day, Mr. Graham paid him a visit. The pair prayed together and talked about the afterlife, and McQueen told him how his faith in Christ helped deal with the cancer. At the end of their meeting, Billy Graham left McQueen his personal Bible, the name “Billy Graham” printed on the front and all.

Inside, he wrote the date, along with a message: “To my friend Steve McQueen, may God bless and keep you always.” He signed his name, along with a reference to a Bible verse, Philippians 1:6: “And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.”

Billy Graham’s Bible became McQueen’s most valued possession. He died on Nov. 7—Billy Graham’s 62nd birthday—and was found clutching that Bible.

Before his death, McQueen said he wanted to tell more people about God. While he grew weaker physically, he grew stronger spiritually, and wanted others to know where that strength came from.

God began something wonderful in McQueen’s life—a total transformation—and has continued impacting others through his story. Nov. 7 is much more than his death date; it’s the day the King of Cool met the King of kings.

Whatever you’re chasing after in life, nothing compares to God Himself. If He can change Steve McQueen’s life, he can change yours, too. Keep reading to see how.

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Step 1 – God loves you and has a plan for you!

The Bible says, “God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, [Jesus Christ], that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life” (John 3:16). Jesus said, “I came that they may have life and have it abundantly”—a complete life full of purpose (John 10:10). But here’s the problem:

Step 2 – Man is sinful and separated from God.

We have all done, thought or said bad things, which the Bible calls “sin.” The Bible says, “All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23). The result of sin is death, spiritual separation from God (Romans 6:23). The good news?

Step 3 – God sent His Son to die for your sins!

Jesus died in our place so we could have a relationship with God and be with Him forever. “God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8). But it didn’t end with His death on the cross. He rose again and still lives! “Christ died for our sins. … He was buried. … He was raised on the third day, according to the Scriptures” (1 Corinthians 15:3-4). Jesus is the only way to God. Jesus said, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father, but through Me” (John 14:6).

Step 4 – Would you like to receive God’s forgiveness?

We can’t earn salvation; we are saved by God’s grace when we have faith in His Son, Jesus Christ. All you have to do is believe you are a sinner, that Christ died for your sins, and ask His forgiveness. Then turn from your sins—that’s called repentance. Jesus Christ knows you and loves you. What matters to Him is the attitude of your heart, your honesty. We suggest praying the following prayer to accept Christ as your Savior:
"Dear God,
I know I’m a sinner, and I ask for your forgiveness.
I believe Jesus Christ is Your Son. I believe that He died
for my sin and that you raised Him to life.
I want to trust Him as my Savior and follow Him as Lord,
from this day forward. Guide my life and help me to do your will.
I pray this in the name of Jesus. Amen."
Did you pray this prayer?