Heap Burning Hot Coals On Your Enemy's Head
Some time back, I remember I was driving down the road and someone who was driving slowly in the lane next to me cut in front of me very fast, causing me to hit my brakes hard so I didn't rear-end him. I honked my horn in a very angry way to show my disapproval, even though honking didn't do any good for anyone's safety since the incident was already over. I was just honking out of revenge. And immediately I had a picture in my mind. It was an image of the devil rejoicing. I saw that he succeeded in what he was trying to do - to stir me up to sin through the actions of another person. At that moment, the anger that I had against that person disappeared! It disappeared right away because I was reminded of the verse:
WHO ARE WE FIGHTING?
"For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places." Ephesians 6:12
This person who cut me off was not my enemy at all - the devil was my enemy. Ultimately, he's behind the scenes pulling the world down into sin. Maybe this person cut me off after the devil drove them to do it at that moment, or maybe it was not a whisper from the devil, maybe it was years of the devil prodding them to live in selfish ways and that selfishness was just manifested in that moment. I don't know. But I do know that the devil was behind the scenes trying to get to me - and this person who cut me off was, in a way, a victim who was being used by Satan. And he is the same as me - a sinner. I shouldn't be surprised. After all, haven't I cut off people in the exact same selfish way?! Yes. Satan has been trying to pull down every person in sin since the beginning of the world. I shouldn't be surprised at that - but I can use that verse of Ephesians 6:12 to re-aim my struggle. Not against selfish people I encounter, but against the devil himself.
How do I do that?
After I saw this image of the devil rejoicing, and of my Savior's sad face, I was also reminded of the verse "Resist the devil and he will flee from you" (James 4:7). I felt that God gave me the ability to repent immediately, and whole-heartedly, and in an instant, my Lord was rejoicing, and the devil was upset. Praise God! And the Lord enabled me to feel some sympathy for this other person who cut me off - maybe they were late for something important. Maybe they've had a really hard day.. maybe a really hard life. He's been oppressed by Satan like the rest of us. Let me pray for him.
TURNING THE TABLES
And the Lord showed me that this was how I could turn the tables on Satan. The devil can stir up others in my life against me, and if I respond in a Christ-like way - then God is glorified, Satan is shamed, and his whole effort to stir me up to sin and shame the Lord has backfired on him! Praise the Lord. It's like he has thrown a grenade at us which was about to explode, but we picked it up and threw it back at the gates of hell. The attack has now turned from us back on to him!
HOT COALS ON YOUR REAL ENEMY
And I got new light on this amazing verse in Romans 12 that I like to keep with me now:
Romans 12:20 “But if your enemy is hungry, feed him, and if he is thirsty, give him a drink; for in so doing you will heap burning coals on his head.” 21 Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.
If someone on earth wrongs me, they may be considered my earthly enemy. But they are not my real enemy according to Ephesians 6:12. My real enemy is the devil. So this verse is so clear and so alive to me now, and I paraphrase it like this:
"If my EARTHLY enemy wrongs me and does me evil, do good to him in return. In that way, I will be throwing burning hot coals at my real enemy, my SPIRITUAL enemy - which is the devil."
Would you like to be in the war with Jesus and fire hot burning coals at the devil (the same coals he was trying to attack you with)? Then you must do good to the people who treat you the worst, and love them. Overcome evil with good (Romans 12:21).
My exhortation is this - never look down at others on this earth and anything they do to me without also seeing that Satan is scheming to try to pull them down. God has so much mercy and compassion for sinners, and sympathizes with ones who are enslaved to sin and to Satan. I always want to have the same compassion and be fighting not flesh and blood, but my real enemy and God's enemy, which is the devil himself.