What we believe clearly makes a difference in how we act, what we do, and the attitude we convey. Our understanding of God and what we comprehend about the expressions of His heart are more than important. Right or wrong, we all tend to emulate and follow what we believe to be true.
Does your belief make sense in today’s world? There is a real difference between faith and belief. Let’s take a quick look at how they differ and why this is important.
Belief or Faith?
Annual surveys across the U.S. seek to measure where people stand regarding faith. The results consistently report that between 80-85% of people identify themselves as Christian, while 30-35% regularly attend religious services. Clearly, a vast majority of people in America believe in God and recognize Jesus Christ as God’s illustration of the way we are to live.
Many today read the Bible and accept what is written in Scripture. This is a simple example of belief. Appropriately, we ‘believe what we understand’ God has said and trust He knows what is best, that He will stand by what He says and will do what He intends.
Biblical faith however, is not the same as belief. For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; (Ephesians 2:8). Faith originates with God, as a gift, and involves two actions:
- First, we hear or sense God is speaking and providing instruction for our specific situation.
- Secondly, we move in agreement to God’s guidance.
Thus, faith involves God giving direction and our appropriate response.
Faith involves two actions.
A helpful example is found in God’s direction to Abraham about sacrificing Isaac. God spoke and Abraham proceeded in faith (as challenging as it was). However, following Abraham’s obedient response, God spoke a fresh word of direction that made His previous instruction inappropriate. Faith is a result of our hearing and then obediently responding to God’s guidance.
Another example is Peter hearing Jesus say “come, walk on water.” This was a word to Peter for the moment. There is no indication that Peter ever did it again or that we should expect to do so.
Both of these examples illustrate faith as an action that followed God’s guiding voice. We read and ‘believe’ these events really happened. Our belief in the conveyed word is not an instruction for us to slay our son or walk on water. We should believe in miraculous healing because Scripture tells us ‘God heals’ but is God actually saying this will happen in our situation? If He is, then we can agree and this is faith in action. Are we hearing what God is saying or believing what He has done?
Faith Pleases God
At Relational Gospel we applaud your belief ‘and’ your faith! Do you desire to understand more about what you believe so you can hear Him more clearly? Are you searching for more meaning in your life?
As a “free thinker” I have sought to hear from God since my teenage years, with an open mind rather than just buying into what I hear or read. My books, blog, and social media posts clarify belief and encourage you as believers who share faith in our relational God.
We share clarifying insights on Scripture to bring rich simplicity to your faith walk. Join us on the journey! Grab a copy of one of my books, dig into energizing Scriptural truths, and enjoy a more intimate interaction with God. Choose the title that best suits you at https://relationalgospel.com/books/.
Keith Carroll, “The Relationship Guy”
Relational Gospel Founder