Best-selling author and life coach to the stars, Tony Gaskins, recently opened up about how his Christian faith influences his work.
Gaskins, 30, a married father of two, is one of the most sought after motivational speakers in the world and is widely applauded for his open and honest approach to sharing advice on love and relationships (usually for women).
While his fans, which include celebrities like Destiny's Child singer Michelle Williams and "Basketball Wives" star Evelyn Lozada among others, hail him as somewhat of a love guru (due to his profound wisdom), he credits all success to his faith and says that his work is simply the product of "what God has put on my heart."
"I'm just saying what God has put on my heart and just kind of speaking from my mistakes and the things that I've learned," Gaskins, who imparts his wisdom through sold-out motivational talks around the country, told the Christian Post exclusively.
It all began in 2007, when a childhood friend convinced Gaskins, the son of a former pastor, to write his very first book What Daddy Never Told His Little Girl. Seven years later, he has written eight notable books and has a large social media presence (his celebrity followers range from rapper Missy Elliot to philosopher Cornel West).
"When I was 22, a friend told me that I should write a book because you know I had the ability to write. I used to write a lot of poetry," he said.
Over the years Gaskins has appeared on a number of popular programs such as "The Oprah Winfrey Show" and "The Tyra Banks Show."
"I'm still coming to terms with it," he said of his popularity. "I've been getting emails and sometimes I may get 100 emails in one day of people thanking me for changing their life."
Through his books and his motivational talks, Gaskins explores sex and love as it applies to modern men and women and often refers to his own past experiences and his marriage to his wife, Sheri, in a bid to personalize his advice.
He credits his Christian faith for motivating him to turn his life around during his womanizing days and revealed that ultimately he hopes that he can bring people closer to God through his work.
"[Faith] is everything for me because my whole thing is about trying to live like Christ and so I want to exemplify that level of integrity and those standards," he said. "And really what I'm trying to do is get people to come closer to those basics, those fundamentals that are taught in the Holy Bible, not about religion but about just morals and standards. That's really what kind of drives it."
Gaskins, also a screenwriter and producer, is renowned for his common sense advice which some say helps people build self esteem and establish healthy relationships. He believes that much of his popularity stems from being transparent and authentic.
"I just try to be authentic and one thing that I have noticed as well too (somebody kind of expressed it to me) is I live what I preach and I show it," he explained. "I flaunt my wife, she's in my [Twitter] profile picture, I talk about my wife, I talk about my family and so I think people realize that if he was living a double life he wouldn't be making this much noise and giving away the game if he was still playing it."
Gaskins, who resides in Florida, says that a man should aspire to love his woman "the way that Christ loves the church" in order for the relationship to flourish. This is taken from scripture Ephesians 5:25 which reads: "Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her."
It is perhaps this same Scripture that has helped strengthen his own marriage to Sheri, with whom he shares two sons.
"You have to always work on your skills, just like anything. I say a relationship is a job that you can't retire from, so you don't get any breaks," he said. "So everyday I'm seeking to understand [rather] than be understood, but I'm seeking to understand my wife a little bit better. I'm seeking to understand her mood and understand what she needs and understand what I need to give and what I need to sacrifice and then also seeking to find a balance between my work life and my family life."
For Gaskins, who is currently in the midst of his "The Real Love Tour," the most rewarding part of his work is that he gets to be a servant of God.
"I think the most fulfilling part is that [my work] is rooted in service and that it's not about me. And that when you become a leader so to speak, you realize that leadership is really just being a servant," he said. "As Jesus said 'The greatest among us is the servant' ... I'm giving to other people and God, the universe, [and] the people are giving back to me."
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