Before I became a committed Christian, I believed in God, but I can’t say I believed in the same god that Jesus called his father. I believed in this vague, “god-thing” that was quite flexible on my end, and unknowable on its end. I was a Christian only because I was raised an Episcopalian (baptized at three months, confirmed at twelve years).
I believed in God, but I had no sense that God believed in me.
When I came convinced of that… that God believed in me, knew me, cared about me and took an active interest in my life… then I became a real Christian, a follower of Jesus Christ. God believed in me first.