What’s the difference between believing in God or a Higher Power, versus having a personal relationship with Jesus? A “She Blossoms” reader inspired me to write this article; below is her question about belief in God versus having a relationship with Jesus.
In this article, you won’t find complicated theological arguments about why believing in God is important or how to have a relationship with Jesus. Instead, you’ll see why my personal relationship with Jesus Christ is more important than anything in my life and how it changed who I am. The bottom line is that my relationship with Jesus freed me to Blossom into who I was created to be, in ways that just believing in God never could.
Here, you’ll also find a few comments from another “She Blossoms” reader. I welcome your thoughts and questions! And don’t worry: I won’t try to convert you to my Christian beliefs. I’m just happy to share how my relationship with Jesus has changed my identity, life, and perspective of the world.
“Thank you for your most recent article,” says L. on How to Protect Yourself From Being Used in a Relationship. “I was very comforted by it….I do have a question about our words: ‘It’s not enough to believe in God or a Higher Power. Even the devil believes! Your faith has to be developed and strengthened by building a relationship with Jesus.’ What do you mean when you say even the devil believes? And what is the difference between believing in Jesus (or in my case a Higher Power) and having a relationship with Him (It?). Thank you kindly.”
From Believing in God to Having a Relationship With Jesus
Here are the two questions:
- What do you mean by saying “even the devil believes”?
- What is the difference between believing in Jesus (or a Higher Power) and having a relationship with Him?
Your thoughts are welcome in the comments section below. Feel free to ask questions and challenge my statements. If I can explain my personal experience with Jesus — and my belief in God — better, I’d be happy to try.
The most important thing to remember is that everyone has a different relationship and experience with God, because we’re all unique people. Finding God can change your life forever…or it can leave you cold.
The devil or Satan believes in God
Evil and spiritual warfare exists — whether or not you call it the devil or Satan. In the Bible, God and Jesus both talked directly to Satan. You don’t have to rely on Scripture to find evidence of Satan or the devil; he runs rampant through the world, people, literature, relationships, and even the most seemingly dull or benign circumstances! Satan is a sneaky devil, and he is more likely to entice and tempt you with something beautiful and even “harmless.” Love and sex, for example, are beautiful gifts from God…and Satan can pervert and destroy them through affairs, porn, and even obsessively “loving” a married man.
So, when I say “even the devil believes in God” I mean exactly that: Satan not only knows God (and Jesus and the Holy Spirit) exists, he talks to God and actively fights to bring pain, destruction, darkness, hopelessness and misery to the world. Satan wants you to be sad, bitter, hopeless and heartbroken. He wants you to doubt God’s goodness and love, and he doesn’t want you to have a relationship with Jesus Christ.
Belief doesn’t equal relationship
“Satan not only believes in God’s existence, he knows the Bible from cover-to-cover,” says E. in my She Blossoms Facebook Group. “His beliefs about God are correct, but He is an enemy of God.” Simply believing God exists doesn’t mean you have a personal relationship with Him. Even if you believe in Jesus and call yourself a Christian, you may not have a personal relationship with God.
For example, I believe Oprah Winfrey exists. This doesn’t mean I have a relationship with her. I don’t know her; I know of her. I read about her, I hear about her, sometimes I even see her on TV. But I know nothing about her true character, qualities, motivations or life. I may think I know her because I’ve read about her, but the truth is I can only know her by actually spending time with her. I’d have to talk to her, walk with her, and be part of her daily life before actually knowing her.
It’s the same with knowing God: you can’t claim to know the true God until you have a personal relationship Jesus Christ. That’s the difference between believing in God versus having a relationship with Jesus. And, all healthy, vibrant relationships must involve communication, presence, freedom, trust and respect.
Question for you: do you have a relationship with your Higher Power? I’d love to hear about it below! When do you walk and talk with your Higher Power? How does he communicate with you? How does he feel about you…and how do you feel about him?
A third relationship: the Holy Spirit
I love love love the Holy Spirit! I say “good morning” to Him every day, and ask Him to infuse my body, mind, spirit and soul with His power, creativity, and inspiration. The Holy Spirit is part of the trinity: God, His Son Jesus Christ, and the Holy Spirit. They are three in one, just like I’m three things (eg, Christian, writer, and wife) at the same time. Those three elements of my identity are all part of me, yet they’re separate. The same, yet different.
Believing in God is fundamental to a healthy life, because He created us to believe in Him. Those feelings of emptiness and loneliness you have deep in your soul can only be filled by Him. Accepting Jesus Christ as His son and your Savior is essential. Building a personal relationship with Jesus is the next step — and you get the gift of the Holy Spirit! His wisdom, comfort, guidance, insights and presence is critical to my daily life.
How my relationship with Jesus changed my life
I grew up believing in God, but I didn’t start developing a personal relationship with Jesus until about four years ago. I accepted Jesus into my heart when I was a pre-teen, but I drifted away (very hard childhood). I recommitted my life to God when I was about 27, but didn’t actually deepen my relationship with Jesus until I was about 44.
To me, having a relationship with Jesus means learning who He is. There are so many layers of meaning and depth in Scripture, and it’s only until you dig in that you actually learn about God’s character. It takes time, effort and energy…but the rewards are literally life-changing.
My relationship with God has changed my heart by changing how I see myself. I am naturally filled with joy, peace and love. My identity is no longer determined by what people think or say about me, or even how they treat me. I no longer struggle to try to overcome problems or heal from old emotional wounds. Somehow, simply claiming my identity in Jesus has changed everything. Receiving His forgiveness, grace and love has set me free spiritually, emotionally, and even physically.
If you believe in Jesus but have lost your way, read How to Rebuild Your Relationship With God.
A final word about Satan and Jesus from my “She Blossoms” reader
“Satan does not want us to believe the words of Jesus ‘I am the way, the truth and the Life. No man comes to the Father except by Me.’ (John 14:6),” says E. in my “She Blossoms” Facebook group. “Satan is the father of lies and he wants to bring as many people as he can to hell with him. Jesus died in our place for our sins because God loves us and wants nothing more than for us to spend eternity with Him. God is a personal God who wants a personal and intimate relationship with us, but that can only happen when we confess and accept Jesus as our Savior.”
What do you think? Your thoughts on believing in God versus having a relationship with Jesus are welcome below! I read every comment, and don’t worry: I won’t give advice or tell you what to believe about God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit. It’s your turn to talk.
If you’re struggling with pain and grief, read How to Find God and Heal Your Broken Heart.
Need encouragement? Sign up for my weekly "Echoes of Joy" email - it's free, short, and energizing. Like me! Is your relationship in trouble? Get 7 Steps to Fixing Your Marriage from relationship coach Mort Fertel. It's free and helpful, no strings attached.