Believing That vs. Believing In

I listened to a podcast yesterday that talked about the difference between “believing that” vs. “believing in God.” I didn’t realize there could be a difference. After some reflection, I noticed how this happens in my own life. To be specific, it’s happening now. I believe that God is good, but I don’t fully trust Him. I believe that God loves me, but I don’t fully believe in his steadfast and unchanging love. If I did, I would be able to see past my own faults and insecurities. But I can admit that right now, and I’m having a hard time fully believing in God.


This contrast came full circle for me when I read Daniel 1-3. “Believing in” happens when our experiences with God transform us. There are two occasions in which King Nebuchadnezzar believes that God can do something. In Daniel 2, when Daniel is the only one who can interpret the dreams, Nebuchadnezzar exclaims, “‘The king said to Daniel, ‘Truly, your God is the greatest of gods, the Lord over kings, a revealer of mysteries, for you have been able to reveal this secret.’” Yet, in the following chapter, he builds a golden statue for the people to worship.


The second time he believes “that” is in Daniel 3. Of course, this is the most known story in Daniel when his friends Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego are thrown into the fire. When he notices the fourth person in the fire and how they come out unscathed, he says, “‘Therefore, I make this decree: If any people, whatever their race or nation or language, speak a word against the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, they will be torn limb from limb, and their houses will be turned into heaps of rubble. There is no other god who can rescue like this!’”


He was fascinated that God could do these things, but he still didn’t believe in God that could do the things. His heart had not changed, and neither were his actions.


Despite all of that, God was still faithful. God not only showed himself faithful to Daniel and his friends, but also Nebuchadnezzar. The same goes for you and me. He shows up for us in moments when we don’t really believe in His promises. He still shows up when we don’t believe in the person He has called us to be. I am grateful that he shows up constantly to shift our perspective from believing that He can do it to believing and trusting the One who can. 🧡

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