I shall not be moved…

I shall not, I shall not be moved;

I shall not, I shall not be moved

Like a tree planted by the water;

I shall not be moved.

When my cross is heavy, I shall not be moved;

When my cross is heavy, I shall not be moved

Like a tree planted by the water;

I shall not be moved.

If my friends forsake me, I shall not be moved;

If my friends forsake me, I shall not be moved

Like a tree planted by the water;

I shall not be moved.  

“I Shall Not Be Moved,” Negro Spiritual

Tenacity is an important Christian value. Often, it seems much easier to give up than to keep going. Have you ever sanctified the temptation to give up by saying, “I don’t think God wants me to do this?” Of course, there are many things that God does not want us to do. But, God speaks clearly. No need to use challenge as a litmus test to determine God’s will.

My greatest challenges often come in the direction in which God is leading. But, I have learned that if something is God’s will and I stick with God, the devil nor hell itself can stop, block, or destroy what God is doing. Isaiah 14:27 declares: 

For the LORD Almighty has purposed, and who can thwart him? His hand is stretched out, and who can turn it back?

Could it be that there are times when we are our greatest hindrance? Jesus had a conversation with a group of people who held up a boatload of excuses for why they couldn’t follow Him. All of their excuses seemed to make sense. For example, Jesus had no where for them to lay their heads, one of them had death in the family. And another one wanted to follow Jesus but was concerned about kinfolk. Luke 6:57–62 recounts Jesus’ conversations with them in the following manner:

As they were walking along the road, a man said to him, “I will follow you wherever you go.” Jesus replied, “Foxes have dens and birds have nests, but the Son of Man has no place to lay his head.”

He said to another man, “Follow me.”

But he replied, “Lord, first let me go and bury my father.”

Jesus said to him, “Let the dead bury their own dead, but you go and proclaim the kingdom of God.”

Still another said, “I will follow you, Lord; but first let me go back and say goodbye to my family.” Jesus replied, “No one who puts a hand to the plow and looks back is fit for service in the kingdom of God.”

 If we want to do God’s will, we must not look back. Following God requires a firm stand and a forward-looking focus. We must fix our eyes on Jesus. He is our source of strength and encouragement. Following Jesus means that we have to stand with Him amidst adversity and uncertainties.

During a very difficult time in history, the slaves held to their faith in God. They believed that although the forces of history were not on their side, God was. They kept their eyes on Jesus. In the Jim Crow era, African Americans armed themselves with the strength that emancipated their ancestors from the clutches of slavery. The slave song, “I shall not be moved” became one of their theme songs.

This song echoed a theology of Christian audacious tenacity and fortified their faith. In the face of overwhelming obstacles, Christians held on to Jesus. Crosses could not stop them, plantations could not tire them, bombs could not destroy them. They were steadfast, unmovable, and continued faithfully in what they were convinced to be the Lord’s work (ref. 1. Corinthians 15:58). Today, we enjoy some of the fruit of their tenacity. 

They stuck with it, even when the going got rough!

Let us learn from our ancestors and practice a stick-to-itiveness that depends on the Lord, all the way. 

This week, let\’s be encouraged as we reflect on these words of wisdom from King David,

I keep my eyes always on the Lord. With him at my right hand, I will not be shaken. Psalms 16:8

Dr. Antipas L. Harris
Welcome to my blog

This blog site is where I share matters related to society, the church, and the academy. I hope my thoughts are meaningful to you. Theology

Read More »