What’s the Difference Between Belief, Faith, and Trust?

woman with Bible sitting on concrete

I want to trust God more! Don’t you? I want to be able to take leaps of faith—to be called a woman of faith.

I remember hearing as a new Christian when facing trials, “Just trust God!” But no one ever explained to me what that looked like in everyday life or how to actually do it.

But I wanted to trust God more! I needed to trust Him more. And God wanted to teach me. In fact, that’s why we often find ourselves in hopeless situations. God wants us to know of our desperate need of Him; we are utterly helpless without Him.

A large part of trusting God more lies in understanding…

What the difference is between belief, faith and trust.

All three of these words are frequently found in Scripture and we often use them interchangeably. What really helped me was realizing it was a progression.

When presented with information, we can either choose to accept, reject, or remain neutral about it. If we believe it is true, we act on it, even when we can’t see the final outcome—that’s faith. If it comes out the way we believed it would, then trust develops. The faith cycle below depicts the progression.

black boxes with text in a cycle explaining the progression of belief to faith to trust

The more we believe something the more likely we will act on it. The Bible defines faith as “being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see” (Heb 11:1). When we hear or read God’s Word, we often say we believe it. But saying we believe and acting on it (faith) are entirely two different things.

So, why don’t we act?

FEAR
Fear of failure, fear of harm, or fear of some other undesirable outcome.

There’s risk in stepping out into the unknown because we usually don’t have all or enough of the facts.

If we are not convinced that it is true or worth doing we will not act.

This is where we need to start if we want to trust God more—to make sure the information we have about God is accurate. Increasing our knowledge of the true character of God and how He works is key.

An important fact to remember here is that…

Faith always has an object.

We believe in something or someone.

For an example let’s say you’re invited to lunch at a new friend’s home. She invites you to sit in a very old chair. You don’t know her, or the chair, very well. You discreetly test the chair by leaning on it a bit. It seems stable. So you take the risk and act in faith by sitting on it. If the chair doesn’t send you plummeting to the floor your belief in the chair has proven true. You now trust this chair. You believed that the chair (object) would hold your weight. The more certain you are of the chair’s sturdiness, the more willing you are to act and sit in it.

In the same way, the more certain we are of God’s trustworthiness, the more willing we’ll be to step out in faith. When God comes through and proves His faithfulness, our trust in Him increases. Then the next time God gives us an opportunity to act in faith, we’ll be even more willing to do so.

That’s how our faith and trust grow.

My friend, I know that I’ve only touched the surface of this huge but extremely important topic. And so many of you have told me that you wanted to learn how this progression works. That’s why I’ve written my latest book, Trust God MORE: The Development of Belief, Faith and Trust.  

vertical silhouette of 2 hands reaching for each other
Just released on Amazon on September 19, 2023 along with a companion workbook. 

Meanwhile, if you are struggling to trust God more, get to know His true character and ask Jesus to give you faith like the father of a demon-possessed son did in the Gospel of Mark…

“I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!” (See Mark 9:23-24)

Related Resources
Book: Our Knowable God: Learning to Relate to Our Invisible Lord
Blog: Is It Possible to Be Desperate WITHOUT Consuming Fear?

(NIV) The Holy Bible: New International Version®. NIV. ® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan Publishing House. All rights reserved.

This Post Has 4 Comments

  1. Patti

    Caint wait to read this book she really makes sense

  2. Teresa Selig Hardt

    Awesome Rose

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