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Fight Fire with Fire!
Bible study on fighting God's way.

Fire fighters often fight a fire with fire. They set controlled fires in front of a wild fire hoping to burn up the fuel source so the wild fire has nothing left to burn.

The phrase "fight fire with fire" is also used to reflect the idea that you use the same tactics to fight people who attack you.

For example, some people suggest we should fight terrorist using the same tactics they use, fighting fire with fire.

And it's like a bully at school picking on people. Someone may say, "We have to fight fire with fire," suggesting they use the same tactics against the bully he's using against them.

Christians Fight Fire with Fire
Paul says that a godly response toward an enemy "will heap coals of fire on his head" (Rom. 12:20, NKJ).

So as Christians, we fight fire with fire. But our fire is different from that used by our enemies.

Our Fire is Goodness
Paul says, "If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him a drink; for in so doing you will heap coals of fire on his head. Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good" (Rom. 12:20-21, NKJ).

When we respond to an enemy with goodness, it heaps coals of burning fire on his head. We fight fire with fire.

Goodness cuts our enemy to the quick, and hurts him more than merely retaliating with the same bad behavior he's shown us.

As a result, our enemy will respond in one of two ways. He'll see the error of his way and repent. Or he'll be inflamed and continue to mistreat us.

This is exactly what happened on Pentecost (Acts 2). People convicted by the gospel responded one of two ways. Some were pricked in their hearts and repented, while others rebelled and fiercely fought against the truth.

As Christians, the fire we fight with is goodness, which sounds like a contradiction. But when we understand the power of goodness to change people, we know it's the strongest weapon we have to fight evil, and bring people to God.

The Power of Goodness to Change People
Many in the world know the power of goodness to change people, thus the expression, "Kill'em with kindness."

Peter illustrates the power of goodness when a wife wins her husband over to Christ, without saying a word. Her chaste behavior and respectful behavior wins him over (1 Pet. 3:1-2).

Figuratively speaking, the wife fought fire with fire. But her fire was different from her husband's. Her fire was goodness, which extinguished her husband's fire and won him to Christ.

We Fight with Prayer
Jesus teaches us to pray for our enemies.

  • "You have heard that it was said, 'You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.' But I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you" (Matt. 5:43-44).

Praying for an enemy may be the last thing you think of, but it's one of the best things you can do.

To truly pray for an enemy you have to love him, and have his best interests in mind. This alone could help resolve the conflict.

But more importantly, when we ask God to help an enemy, and to help us in our relationship with him, we appeal for divine help. We don't merely pray for a personal victory, but for God's power to aid both parties, and bring about a positive outcome.

We Fight with Acts of Kindness
Kindness is a powerful weapon against evil, if we desire for men to repent and obey God.

Paul says, "If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him a drink; for in so doing you will heap coals of fire on his head" (Rom. 12:20).

When we are kind to our enemies we shine our lights, and show the way to salvation (Matt. 5:14-16). And sometimes, an enemy becomes a friend, or even a brother in Christ.

We Fight with the Gospel
Most importantly, we fight our enemies with God's word, the gospel, the sword of the Spirit (Eph. 6:17).

The gospel is the power of God unto salvation (Rom. 1:16). And more than anything, our enemies need salvation, and the power to live as God teaches.

So the most important weapon in our arsenal against an enemy is God's word, as we speak the truth in love (Eph. 4:15).

When men oppose us as faithful children of God, and refuse to live at peace, we don't take our own vengeance (Rom. 12:19).

We fight back as God commands, with goodness and prayer and the gospel.

In this way we fight fire with fire. Not by lowering ourselves to a sinful level, but by fighting as God desires, in a way that glorifies Him, and brings men to Christ.