We've all heard the expression "fight fire with fire." It's an interesting phrase that comes from the strategy that firemen who fight forest fires sometimes have to use in order to combat huge forest fires - they actually start a controlled burn around the fire to remove it's fuel by the time it gets there. It's a brilliant strategy.

Of course, most of the time when we hear or use this phrase, we're not talking about anything remotely related to forest fires. The essence of this phrase is that sometimes the only way to overcome an obstacle is to use the same exact tactic to win as the problem is presenting itself with.

As a forest fire-fighting strategy, it's really a brilliant maneuver. But as a metaphor for life I'm not sure that it really plays out to be quite so brilliant.

Let's take a look at what the Apostle Paul wrote to first century Christians in Colosse:

Therefore if you died with Christ from the basic principles of the world, why, as though still living in the world, do you subject yourselves to regulations — "do not touch, do not taste, do not handle," which all concern things that perish with the using — according to the commandments and doctrines of men?

These things indeed have an appearance of wisdom in self-imposed religion, false humility, and neglect of the body, but are of no value against the indulgance of the flesh.


So Paul is warning the Believers against a form of righteousness that is really a false form: legalism.

He says not to give too much credit to regulations about do not touch, do not taste, do not handle, and interestingly he says although they deal with indulgence of the flesh, they have "no value" in actually combatting the flesh!</p>

So Scripture says fighting the flesh by following rules about neglecting the flesh is actually useless in overcoming the flesh? Yup.

If we are to read Scripture as a whole, this should not surprise us. This is because the flesh cannot be overcome simply by fighting it with the power of the flesh. It can only be overcome by the power of the Spirit. (see also Romans 8)

So here again we see evidence that we cannot live holy lives in our own strength, or by our own will. Or more specifically, by religion.

Only the grace of God as manifest by His Spirit in us can empower us to live holy lives that are not ruled by our flesh.

In this case they only way to fight the fire is with water.