My Life Is Not My Own
by: Marc Baer
William Wilberforce was a young, wealthy, brilliant, ambitious politician who might have become Britain’s prime minister but chose instead a very different path. What difference did that decision make—to him, his nation, and the world?
By the time he entered Cambridge University, Wilberforce was by today’s standards a multimillionaire. Rather than devoting himself to learning, he spent most of his time gambling and drinking. Soon after graduation, at age 21, he was elected to Parliament. But Wilberforce only played at politics, all the while maintaining his dissolute lifestyle. Then he read a book that revealed what it meant to be a believer and realized that his attitude toward Christianity didn’t line up well with biblical truths. Convicted about his lifestyle and ambition, but loath to give them up, he began to pray earnestly. God, and Christian acquaintances, led him to recognize that wealth, power, and ambition were insufficient to build a life upon. His spiritual crisis went on for 17 months until at Easter in 1786 he gave his life to Christ.
The truth of Christian doctrines and their biblical basis freed Wilberforce from himself. He discovered a passion for learning he had never had at school or university. Earnestness was now tempered by humility; modesty replaced blind ambition. The new had come.