“Wake up and strengthen the things that remain, that are about to die…”
— Revelation 3:2
History reveals a story concerning the Czar of Russia when he was standing at the window of his palace one morning and noticed a sentry standing guard in a remote section of the palace garden. After watching the soldier a while, his curiosity began to press him as to why a guard was at that particular spot. Finally, he made the long walk through the garden and approached the young sentry.
“Why are you here, soldier?” the Czar asked.
“I’m standing guard, sir.” The sentinel answered nervously.
“Did you start today?”
“Oh, no sir, there is always a guard here.”
“If there is always a guard here, what are you guarding?”
“I don’t know, sir.”
“You don’t know?” He threw his arms up on disbelief, then demanded, “Call the captain of the guard!”
In a matter of minutes the captain was standing before the monarch.
“Captain, just what is this soldier guarding?”
“I don’t know sir,” was the surprising answer.
“The orders are that a sentry be at this post twenty-four hours a day, and we have followed the orders.”
“Can you tell me how we can find out why this is going on?” the Czar asked. Exasperation was beginning to turn into anger.
“May I suggest, sir,” answered the captain, “that we search the archives of the palace guard; perhaps the reason is there.”
Research into the guard records uncovered the answer. When Catherine the Great had been ruler of Russia, a dignitary from one of the European countries had paid her a state visit, and as a gesture of friendship, had presented her with a rare rose bush for the royal garden. The bush was planted, and Catherine gave orders that a sentry was to be posted at the rose bush around the clock to prevent any tampering.
But there was a problem: Catherine the Great and the rose bush had been dead for over one hundred years! The rose bush had been gone for over a century, but the soldiers continued with their faithful watch, never knowing why. In this story I see two important lessons for the modern day Christian.
First, there are people in and out of church today, who at one time had a beautiful and exhilarating experience with their Lord Jesus Christ. In the course of time, somehow, something got in the way, and they failed to nurture that experience and grow in the grace that God freely gave them. I am not referring to “feelings,” which come and go, but to a spiritual happening that became part of them.
Now, however, commitment and interest has abated, and they go through half-hearted motions like attending church occasionally, not realizing they have become guardians over something that no longer exists — a kind of dead rose bush. They desperately need to plant a new bush through repentance and renewal.
Secondly, there are those who guard a dead bush of past mistakes, seemingly unable to leave the past and go on from there. It may be a wrong decision, an error in judgment, a past sin; all of which can be covered by the Blood of Jesus. But instead of putting it under the Blood, all they can see is their failure, so they remain trapped by their minds. They too, need to plant a new bush by seeking and receiving His forgiveness and making a new commitment to walk with Him to victory!
Beloved, revival is in the air! I see coming over the horizon His awesome Presence, the Shekinah glory – along with overwhelming victories in salvations, deliverances, and healings. Don’t waste away the precious time God has given you by standing guard over nothing. Plant a new bush of commitment; cultivate it with the Word, and water it with daily praise. Then trust Him to help you make it grow into a life of consistent personal revival.
Do it right now!