Missing the Christian Forest for the Trees

There are times as Christians when we miss the forest for the trees. People in our life may admire the depth of our theological understanding. Others may wish they could quote scripture as quickly as we do. Still, others see our involvement in the church and think, “there goes one of the godliest men or women I know.” We might even thank God for the work of grace in our lives and sing his praises. Yet, even with all this in place, we might be living with a glaring hole in our spiritual lives. One so fundamental it overshadows everything else. What are we missing? We do not weep for the lost.

We might sing with the tongues of angels, understand mysteries, or have faith that can move mountains, but if we do not have love, we have nothing. We must continually ask, “Do I love the lost?” “Do I labor for them in my prayers?” “Do I bring them the message of Christ’s love?” As Charles Spurgeon once said, “If sinners be damned, at least let them leap to Hell over our dead bodies. And if they perish, let them perish with our arms wrapped about their knees, imploring them to stay. If Hell must be filled, let it be filled in the teeth of our exertions, and let not one go unwarned and unprayed for.”

If this is not our heart toward the sinner, as James Smith once said, “We do not half believe what we preach.” Below is the complete statement by James Smith. May the Holy Spirit use it to draw us out of ourselves and see all of those who daily pass us by as people made in the image of God who are running headlong into eternal punishment.

James Smith on Weeping for the Lost

“Friends, do you ever weep over perishing sinners? Is it not astonishing that we can go to the house of God and pass multitudes of ungodly, careless creatures that throng our streets and never shed a tear!

Is it not more astonishing still that we can preach on the torments of the lost, and the joys of the saved, and see the great mass of the people around us rejecting it, yes, refusing to listen to it, and not weep bitter, bitter tears!

We do not half believe what we preach or what we hear! We do not half believe the infallible statements of Holy Scripture in reference to the dreadful realities of eternal Hell, or else we would feel deeply, and weep frequently too.

The holy Apostle Paul, speaking of his labors at Ephesus, says, “Remember, that by the space of three years, I ceased not to warn every one day and night with tears!” (Acts 20:31)

Our adorable Lord and Savior, when He came near to Jerusalem just before His death, “He beheld the city, and wept over it!” Oh, to feel as Paul felt! As Jesus felt! If we realized the danger of sinners, and the terrors of Hell as they did, we would weep as they wept!

We should feel for sinners, as if we saw them suspended over the burning lake of Hell, and one after another falling in! We should feel for sinners, as if we could hear the awful splash, as the lost soul takes its terrific plunge into the liquid flaming brimstone!”

“Oh, that my head were a spring of water and my eyes a fountain of tears!
I would weep day and night for the slain of my people!” Jeremiah 9:1

-James Smith (1802 -1862)

One thought on “Missing the Christian Forest for the Trees

  1. “We should feel for sinners, as if we saw them suspended over the burning lake of Hell…” yes, this is very true but its impossible to work up a love for sinners. We can do actions of love but only the Holy Spirit can change ones heart to be emboldened and burdened for unbelievers.
    Christians are compelled to the mission fields bc of this driving love. Anything else is our own fleshly ideas which will lead to fleshly fruits.
    Only the Holy Spirit can churn our hearts with a love that will withstand persecution, rejection, and personal loss. That’s what’s needed in me and the remnant of believers today.

    Liked by 2 people

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