Chuck Norris, known for martial arts roles, revealed his softer Christian side as he addressed Liberty University's largest graduating class yet over the weekend, reading Bible verses, giving his testimony and advising grads to let God direct their steps.
The television star received an honorary Doctor of Humanities degree from the school on Saturday before giving his speech.
Norris, who was formerly involved in Make-A-Wish Foundation and created KickStart Foundation for at-risk children, indicated to the 4,800 students that this was his first time addressing a graduating class.
"I have to tell you I don't do this very often – in fact, I don't do it at all," he said, according to the school's student newspaper, Liberty Journal . "But I hope that by the time you hear my testimony, you'll see how instrumental God has been in my life."
He shared his humble beginnings, from being born to a poor family to having an alcoholic father.
After joining the Air Force after high school, Norris went from being a shy and nonathletic kid to holding a black belt in Tae Kwon Do, which he obtained while stationed in Korea.
He returned to the states and became a martial arts instructor. He went on to win in multiple martial arts tournaments and eventually launched his acting career, including starring in the CBS television series "Walker, Texas Ranger."
Norris said he got sucked into the entertainment world of Hollywood and knew he was missing something from his life.
"I wound up drifting from my faith," Norris, who was baptized when he was 12, told the crowd, reported the student paper. "I had been in films and I had fame and fortune, but I was very unhappy and I couldn't figure out why."
It wasn't until Norris met and married Gena that his faith took a turn for the better. One day she was reading the Bible to him aloud and he felt his faith rekindled.
"It's like the Holy Spirit hit me and said, 'Chuck it's time to come home,'" he recalled, according to the Liberty Journal. "I was hot for the Lord, and I still am to this day."
After reading a Scripture passage from Proverbs 19, Norris told graduates to let God guide them.
"The Lord has directed my steps now through the last 10 years. And I hope you'll let Him direct your steps, because if you do, you can't go wrong – I promise you," Liberty Journal reported.
At the beginning of the ceremony, LU Chancellor and President Jerry Falwell, Jr. called Norris the "type of role model to young people that has become rare in the entertainment field."
In recent years, Norris has become an outspoken Christian. He has written several Christian books including The Justice Riders and an autobiography on his faith journey – Against All Odds. He also sits on the board of the National Council on Bible Curriculum in Public School and has been a motivational speaker for T.D. Jakes Ministry.