God is the bottom line—both for Christians and for trying to understand Christians. Probably the biggest mistake in understanding Christians is not realizing how overwhelming and fundamental the reality of God is to us. To a true Christian, God is what it’s all about. He created everything, and ultimately everything is for and about Him. He’s more real to us than matter, or time.
One of the problems for a non-Christian in understanding a Christian is that Christians don’t put God in a religion box, as just one (good) part of our lives. I have many friends and relatives who believe in God (but are not Christians), in the sense that that they believe there is a God out there. To some, God is simply not important enough to warrant any kind of change. For others, God is the center of their religious practice, and they take God seriously insofar as they practice their religion. Some go the next step and pray, hoping God hears.
For Christians, reality begins and ends with God. He’s not a part of our life–we consider ourselves lucky enough to be part of His. Just try to think what the most important part of your life is. Make it more important than that, and that is how important the reality of God is to a Christian.
There are so many corollaries to this that I could continue this particular blog into eternity. But let me just focus on one here, and leave the rest for later. Christians are not materialists, and if you want to understand a Christian, you have to get that. We believe that reality is beyond what we see, know, experience and think. We believe this world is temporary, and true reality lies beyond us. This is a big demarcation line, and one that lands us in the “stupid” category for many scientifically or materialist people (materialist not in the sense of materialistic, but simply in the sense of believing that the only reality is the one we see, taste, touch and think about). Many of the greatest scientists have been strong Christian believers, and still are today (in fact, a great case can be made that the drive toward scientific discovery is essentially Judeo-Christian at its root).
Bottom line here: We believe in God. We believe that He encompasses everything, and that dealing with that reality is the biggest factor in our lives, and the single greatest driver of change in our lives. We therefore also believe that reality exists beyond the material. We believe in a reality beyond what we can receive by our earthly senses. I can understand what a stretch that can be for those who don’t believe that.