Nick Jones

About Nick Jones

Nick's Blog
Nick pastors Maranatha Baptist Church in Globe, Arizona. He is passionate about glorifying God through teaching, writing, and evangelism. He has a heart for the lost and is actively involved in street ministry. He lives in Globe with his lovely wife, Laura, and their daughters, Kate and Samantha.



I’m Not Who You Think I Am

I have a confession to make. I’m not who you think I am. In fact, I’m not who I think I am.

I’m not the person I portray when I’m out in public. Some people may look at me and think, “Gee, he really has it all together.” Others may sneer (and rightly so), “He thinks he’s so great. What an arrogant fool.”

The truth is, I struggle daily. Sometimes I lay awake at night worrying that I’ll utterly fail my family, my church, my God. I’ve failed many times and I continue to fail daily. I’m not always happy with myself. I hate to think that I’ve let so many people down. I’m tired of trying so hard without seeing much progress. I’m scared I’ll never see my life become what I always imagined it would be.

I’m Not Who You Think I Am

Yes, this is me speaking. However, these are more than just my feelings and thoughts. These thoughts belong to all of us from time to time and, surprise surprise, even to those who are followers of Jesus Christ. We are all prone to moments of doubt and weakness. We all struggle with the collision of our public and private personas making us feel exposed and vulnerable.

When we find ourselves stuck in these thought patterns, we must pause and reflect on the truths God has revealed to us in His word. Only then can we look at the world and our place in it differently. So today, let us all take some time for a quick reality-check.

 

Reality Check #1: We Are Still Regular People.

It may seem strange we have to begin here, but the truth is that we sometimes forget: even when someone becomes a Christian, he is still just a regular person. Yes, a regular person who has been born again by the Spirit of God and whose sins are completely forgiven, but a regular person nonetheless. All of the frailties of humanity remain.

This is not to say that we are not guided or strengthened by the Spirit, but to highlight the fact that Christians still deal with human problems. Sometimes, the church gives the impression that becoming a Christian is more akin to a comic book superhero than a real-life person.

We read stories about great men and women of faith and it seems impossible to live up to their examples. How can I be as brave as Polycarp or Perpetua before the roaring crowds and lions? How can I leave behind all of the comforts of life and risk everything for the sake of the Gospel like Hudson Taylor or William Carey? I will never be as smart as Calvin or Edwards and I’ll never be able to move people like Luther or Spurgeon.

Yet, even these were only men and women, each with their own trials and struggles. To exalt these “heroes” of the past is to dishonor their memory. Why? Because even they would recognize there is nothing good in them apart from Christ. (Romans 7:18) They achieved nothing apart from Christ. As followers of Jesus Christ we must all remember that we are just regular people who have experienced the grace of God.

 

Reality Check #2: Our Identity Is Not Contingent on Others, But On Christ

Stop it! Stop it right now! Stop acting like who you are is based on how people in this world perceive you. We put too much stock in other people’s opinions of ourselves.

We think we must dress to impress. We must be likable, funny, and charming. We must be intelligent and have a quick wit. If we don’t reach the standards we believe others have for us, then we fail. We must then change in order to please our god. Wait, what? That’s right, when our self esteem and fulfillment is contingent on anyone other than God Himself, we have made that person our new god.

The reality is that we will never live up to who others think we should be. We really don’t even live up to who we think we should be. Most importantly, we don’t live up to who God thinks we should be. However, that is the whole point of the Gospel! “All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” (Romans 3:23) The “all” in this passage means all. We all fall short of God’s glory and God’s standards.

Our standing before God is not based on who we are or what we can achieve. No, our standing with God is based completely on the finished work of Christ on the cross. Our identity then is found in our union with Christ. “There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.” (Romans 8:1) So I will fail, I will be tempted, and I will struggle, but I’m not depending on myself. That makes all the difference. I find my worth and value in Christ alone.

Ultimate reality is not how we see the world, but how God sees the world. In a day and age when an individual can “self-identify” as whatever he or she wants, we must remember that lying to oneself will only take you so far. Yes, I’ve tried to be something that I’m not. Yes, I’ve failed at putting on a show for others. At the end of the day, however, I stand before the mirror alone and I know who I truly am.

The question then is not “Will I be what the world wants me to be?” The question is, “Will I be who God is making me into? Will I trust that He knows what is best no matter how the world perceives me?” I may not be who you think I am, but I am who He thinks I am.

By | 2018-08-08T02:00:47+00:00 August 10th, 2018|

Talking Politics

I enjoy doing some people-watching from time to time. More than once, as I’m sitting in a public place, needing to focus on work, I’m distracted by watching how people interact with others. Mostly, they are simply going about their everyday business; however, I’ve witnessed some interesting encounters.

For instance, I can recall two separate times when total strangers begin polite small talk and then as the conversation moves to a new conflicting topic,  these people are now ready to pounce on each other WWE style. Can you guess the topic? Politics.

Talking PoliticsYou see, we usually expect good manners and polished conversation skills when interacting with strangers; however, when we start “politicking”, the gloves can come off and we feel justified in spitting out venom. “He shouldn’t be so stupid anyway! He deserves to be yelled at!” Right in the middle of the public library or the grocery store, two people with different views and opinions go at it.

So what’s the problem here? Even though this seems to be the model given to us on news channels, nevertheless, anger and yelling is merely a symptom of the true problem. Namely, we want things to change for the better, but we cannot agree on how to make that happen. So we offer an ultimatum, “You change now! Or else…”


This is NOT a political article. I am NOT endorsing any person or party. Rather, I would like to challenge of few of the presuppositions of individuals on either side of the divide when dealing with these touchy conversations.

 

#1: You Must Conform To Me

One of our big problems in this world is that we think that we are so smart. When you are speaking to someone with whom you disagree, what is your end goal? Do you want them to simply adopt your ideas? Are you the standard of truth?

The reality is, Biblically-speaking, all human beings are found lacking (to put it lightly). No, an individual is not the standard of truth and we shouldn’t act like we are. Especially, if you profess to be a follower of Christ, you should be pointing people away from yourself and to Him. Political ideologies are not be the standard by which we should call people to conform themselves, rather to be conformed to the image of Christ. (Romans 8:29)     

 

#2: Change Is Won Through Argument

        If we take the example above of the two strangers arguing, the question is, “Do either of them really think this argument is going to change the other person?” You tell me, has anyone yelling at you ever made you think, “Hmm… they sure do make some fine points.”? Most likely not.

True change only comes when there is first a change of heart and again, Biblically speaking, that only comes through the grace of God.

        Many times throughout history we have seen examples of people being forced to affirm an ideology or they would suffer the consequences. What is the outcome? They may get in line for a time but they will not be truly changed. So yell, scream, make wonderfully logical arguments, but unless a heart is softened by God to receive truth you are engaged in a futile task. (John 12:39-40)  

#3: Better Politics Will Save Us

        Sadly, some professing Christians really believe this. I don’t think many would outright say so, but the impression is given that “political wins” are equal to “Gospel wins.” Therefore, what should we be looking for in politics? A political messiah of course! One who will rid us of all those whom we politically disagree with and will usher in a “golden government”!

        This is exactly what Jesus spoke against when He entered into this world. “Perceiving then that they were about to come and take Him by force to make Him king, Jesus withdrew again to the mountain by Himself.” (John 6:15) Why does Jesus leave these people who want to make Him king? They missed the point.

Jesus pointed the people to spiritual needs and realities but instead they wanted fulfillment now. Jesus says, “Do not work for the food that perishes, but for the food that endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give to you.” (John 6:27) Our country and government are not eternal and will one day perish. Do you recognize this? Politics is an unruly god to worship and will let you down. True salvation is only found in Christ.

        Finally, I want you to understand I am not saying we shouldn’t have political conversations. I’m saying that we must keep our conversations in perspective. Speak and listen to those with whom you disagree. In fact, try listening more than you speak (James 1:19) and perhaps you can learn from one another.

We all want to see progress for the better, but remember that true progress only comes through the grace of God working through His people. So perhaps, you can start the process by being gracious and kind in your next political conversation.     

By | 2018-05-08T07:43:42+00:00 May 14th, 2018|

Oops!

Hi, thanks for dropping by! Looks like you caught us changing … our site design. Please excuse our mess! If you find any bugs or have an suggestions, email us at info@topchristianbooks.online. We’ll definitely reply.

Pin It on Pinterest