The Difference Between Faith & Belief

My son posed an interesting question to us last night in Family Home Evening.He said that they had asked them in seminary what the difference was between Faith and Belief. (As a side note, he said he was the only one who answered the question, so that made me kind of proud that he had thought this through so well.)

So he asked us the question….What is the difference between faith and belief?  And an  interesting discussion  started.  I think this struck me because I have been documenting so many concepts from the scriptures as they pertain to Universal Law.  One of the main ones I have documented is Ask, Believe, Receive.  Between the Bible and LDS scripture, I have documented 106 scriptures listed on this alone.

One of the greatest lessons I learned was about belief.  Several of these scriptures say, “Ask, BELIEVING THAT YE WILL RECEIVE.”  I guess this hit me so hard because I have spent the majority of my life praying and asking, but never BELIEVING I would receive what I was asking for.  I thought that it was up to the Lord to determine if I was worthy enough, had done enough, if I deserved it,  or if it was okay for me to have what I was asking for.  I never realized the responsibility was on ME to believe I was going to get it, not to test the LORD to see if it was ok with Him to bless me with.

In James 1:9, it says, “be not a double minded man.”  Well, that’s EXACTLY what I was doing– being double-minded.  I was asking for what I wanted, but not believing I would get it.  How can you give someone something if they don’t know what they want?

So when my son posed this question, I thought I understood BELIEF enough to answer this.  But I was still stumped.

Have you figured it out yet?  What is the difference?

Really, it seems that faith and belief are the same thing.  Faith is BELIEVING in that which is not seen, but is true.  So faith involves belief, but it is something just a little more.  What is it?  What is the difference?

ACTION.  Those who have true faith will take the step past belief to take action on what they believe or have faith in.  This is a powerful concept.

My son gave the example to us of Joshua trying to take the Children of Israel across the River Jordan and into the promised land.  They had to cross this river, but how?  It says in Joshua Chapter 3 that the banks were overflowing at this time of year.  I assume the waters were very deep.  But Joshua was told that if the priests bearing the Ark of the Covenant would just step into the water, they would part, just like they had at the Red Sea.  There was an action that they had to take.  They had to step into the water.  That could have been scary as deep and wide as the water could have been, but because they BELIEVED and took ACTION, a miracle occurred.

I have a quote in my scriptures that says, “A miracle is not the suspension of a natural law, but the operation of a higher law.”

There are many scriptures which talk about miracles and most of them say that faith has to be present in order for miracles to occur.  And when you read about miracles ceasing to exist, it is because the people lacked faith– that is a BELIEF plus ACTION.

Here is a scripture from the Book of Mormon that clearly defines this:
Ether 12:12

12 For if there be no faith among the children of men God can do no miracle among them

Another great scripture popped into my mind.  Remember when Moses was leading the Children of Israel through the wilderness and they were being bit by poisonous serpents.  Mostes was told to have them look to the serpent on his staff and they would live.  All they had to do was LOOK– take ACTION.  Yet many did not because they did not believe.  To us it seems so crazy!  Why would they just not LOOK??!!  Yet, do we find the same thing in our day where people just don’t believe or have faith, so they just turn away?

Here is a great summary of that from the Book of Mormon:

2 Nephi 25:20

20 And now, my brethren, I have spoken plainly that ye cannot err. And as the Lord God liveth that brought Israel up out of the land of Egypt, and gave unto Moses power that he should heal the nations after they had been bitten by the poisonous serpents, if they would cast their eyes unto the serpent which he did raise up before them, and also gave him power that he should smite the rock and the water should come forth; yea, behold I say unto you, that as these things are true, and as the Lord God liveth, there is none other name given under heaven save it be this Jesus Christ, of which I have spoken, whereby man can be saved.

Those who took action were saved.  They received a miracle.  I thought it interesting that in the story of Adam and Eve, the Serpent represents Satan.  It made me wonder….Is the “poisonous bite” of the serpent (Satan) that is striking at our heels trying to get us to sin “killing us” spiritually?  If so, we need only to look to the Savior and live.  We need to take action.  We need to Look to Him!  Many people SAY they believe in Jesus, but their words and actions don’t show that.  We need to take ACTION and live like Him– keep His commandments, that is action!  When we have faith in Christ in healing our souls or creating the miracles that we need, we can take ACTION– complete faith– and BELIEVE that He WANTS to send a miracle our way.  It just takes faith!

Helaman 8:15

15 And as many as should look upon that serpent should live, even so as many as should look upon the Son of God with faith, having a contrite spirit, might live, even unto that life which is eternal.

My mind has been reeling with all kinds of thoughts on this.  So, I will be posting a little more.   =)