Over the past year or so, I have often pondered on the difference of believing in God and believing God. The difference in subtle, and yet can make all the difference in our day to day lives.
Believing in God is the first step. You first have to believe in God's existence, that he has created us, that he has a plan and purpose for our lives.
But in order to really move forward in our faith, we have to believe God. Believe that every word He has spoken is truth. Believe that He speaks to us. Believe that His promises are sure. We have to believe what He tells us.
In order to believe what God says, we have to know what it is. Here are just a few examples of what I'm talking about:
"Heavens above rain down righteousness: let the clouds shower it down." (Isaiah 45:8)
The imagery of a rain shower pouring down, soaking us from head to toe, is a powerful one. Can we imagine God's power and righteousness and blessings pouring down upon us and our lives in such fashion? Do we believe God when he says he will freely bless us in such a manner? Can we look around and witness the evidence?
"Love never fails" (1 Corinthians 13:8)
Love, or charity, meaning the true love of Christ, never fails. No matter what happens. No matter what we do. No matter what is done to us. Do we believe God when he promises that His love can rescue us from anything, anywhere, any time?
"The righteous cry out, and the Lord hears them; he delivers them from all their troubles." (Psalm 34:17)
God hears us. He hears our pleas and our cries. Whether we pray a "popcorn prayer" that is short and direct up to Heaven, or sink to our knees and beg for something, or have a heart so heavy no words can be formed to express our desire, do we believe God actually hears us? Do we pray expecting answers? Do we pray expecting deliverance?
The difference between believing in God and believing God really can make a huge difference in our lives. Because if we believe what he says is true, our lives can be filled with the joy of his promises. Then it also changes the way we read his word in scripture, because now we can search for those promises, and believe God when he breathes them over us.
I am trying desperately to move closer to the idea of believing God rather than just believing in Him. I have this amazing glimpse of what life could be like if I was more familiar with His words and His promises and if I actually expected their fulfillment in my life. And then, in a hazy mist somewhere down the road, I see my life bursting with joy, even in the storms of life, because I know God and believe Him.