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  • Writer's pictureThe Hermit of Antipolo

The Centurion (Holy Warriors Part 4)

Updated: Apr 8, 2022

Today’s readings:

Lamentations 2:2-19

Psalm 74:1-21

Matthew 8:5-17

The centurion, already a warrior being a military officer, would certainly become a holy warrior after his profound encounter with Jesus. He put his faith in Jesus and in his authority (Mt 8:9). And because he did so, his appeal was granted, that his servant be healed (Mt 8:13a). It happened miraculously (Mt 8:13b).

As we are in spiritual warfare, with the one enemy being the evil one, we look to the One who has already defeated the enemy. “When it was evening, they brought him many who were possessed by demons, and he drove out the spirits by a word and cured all the sick” (Mt 8:16).

Now God has already defeated the enemy, but that is no assurance that we will be able to do the same. We can do the same, but only if we are holy warriors. The psalmist laments the destruction of the temple (Ps 74:5-7). He is anguished that God seemingly abandoned them and allowed them to be defeated. “Why, God, have you cast us off forever? Why does your anger burn against the sheep of your pasture?” (Ps 74:1).

This happened because Israel was unfaithful to God. Israel turned away from God. As such, God turned away from Israel! God became angry with Israel, His chosen people. “How the Lord in his wrath has abhorred daughter Zion” (Lam 2:1a). With an army of unholy warriors, they were defeated by their enemies, with God “casting down from heaven to earth the glory of Israel” (Lam 2:1b). In effect, “the Lord has become the enemy” (Lam 2:5a)! As such, Israel could not even defend herself well. “In his fury he has razed daughter Judah’s defenses” (Lam 2:2b). Her defenses crumbled. “He has handed over to the enemy the walls of its strongholds.” (Lam 2:7b).

Not only can we not defeat a powerful enemy just on our own strength and resources, but if we become unholy warriors, even our God, because we are not with Him, goes against us. That is a recipe for disaster.

What needs to happen? We need vision and instruction. Our Church today is losing the war because her people do not know about the spiritual war that is raging, and the call to be holy warriors. The enemy is assaulting, and we are not even defending, as we are ignorant, complacent, comfortable, unarmed and unequipped. Thus, “instruction is wanting, even her prophets do not obtain any vision from the Lord.” (Lam 2:9c). If we do not know what is happening, if we do not know whom we are called to become, then the war is lost. We must have the vision and the formation.

So what must we do? We must become holy warriors.

First, we must repent of sin. “Cry out to the Lord from your heart, wall of daughter Zion! Let your tears flow like a torrent day and night” (Lam 2:18a). We repent of sin, turn back to God, pray, worship, humble ourselves.

Second, we must live out our covenant with God. “Remember your people, whom you acquired of old, the tribe you redeemed as your own heritage” (Ps 74:2a). Now we do not need to remind God; we need to remind ourselves! And start to live out God’s ways, as instructed to us.

Third, we ask for God’s empowerment. “Why hold back your hand, why hold back your right hand within your bosom?” (Ps 74:11). God will not withhold His power, if only we become holy instruments that He can truly use.

Then we can engage the enemy. And we go forth as holy warriors, with all confidence. “Yet you, God, are my king from of old, winning victories throughout the earth.” (Ps 74:12).

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