Enemy Territory

One evening, my sister and I sat upon her patio watching a young couple who lived across the pond, playing with a pair of Labrador retrievers along the grassy bank. Suddenly, one of the dogs took in after a duck that was sunning itself at the edge of the bank. Immediately the duck scrambled toward the water and swam a safe distance out. The young Lab followed with reckless abandon, paddling with all he had, while the duck appeared to propel away effortlessly.

The clever duck, more comfortable in its watery surroundings, would occasionally disappear under the water. It had become obvious that what began as a game of chase for the dog, had now turned into a devious game of hide and seek for the duck, as the feathery foe would dip and then pop up several yards away, taunting the dog repeatedly.

We watched as the dog, now exhausted and confused, began to sink lower and lower in the water as his strength and stamina waned. Once confident and secure on dry land, the dog now floundered in the depths of enemy territory.

Simon Peter made the mistake of tempting fate in enemy territory.  Peter, so confident when he was with Jesus, promised never to disown Him. We know that very night, he denied Jesus three times after entering the courtyard of those who arrested him.

It is a common scenario for believers as we too find ourselves sinking deeper and deeper when we enter territory opposed to God’s will. We rationalize our entertainment, our habits, or even hobbies as not being “that big of a deal” and we let down our guard giving Satan a foothold.

Peter thought his faith was strong enough to handle any temptation and was caught off guard as he warmed himself by the fire. We do the same.  We may not see the consequences as quickly as Peter did, but they eventually will surface.  It is impossible to sit at the devil’s fire and not get burned.

I love the quote by Pastor E. Ray Jones: “We have a tendency to overestimate our ability to cope with temptation and underestimate our ability to cope with suffering.”

First Corinthians 10:12 states “If you think you are standing firm, be careful not to fall” (NIV).   Most often, what we consider our greatest strength will trip us up simply because in our confidence, we let down our guard.

The good news is we serve a God of second (and third) chances. Jesus restored Simon Peter for every time he denied Him by asking, “Peter, do you love me?” Peter replied, “Lord, you know I love you.”  Jesus said, “Then feed my sheep” (John 21:17, NIV), essentially a statement of ordination.

Failure is never final.  The Bible is full of people who have fallen, have been restored and used of God in a mighty way. Just as Jesus fully restored Peter, giving him the keys to the Kingdom, He will restore us…for every time we have fallen. 

Lord, in quiet confidence, we come before Your throne knowing that there we will find the mercy and grace for our individual circumstance.  Forgive us for the times we have failed You.  Strengthen and restore us as we worship You in spirit and in truth.  Remind us that failure is never final, but often times a springboard for Your sovereign plan. In Jesus’ name, Amen.


  1. Thank you Shari for your comment this morning on my blog. :) I love your line that failure is never final! So true.

    Thank you and God bless you! Hester, ;)

    1. Thank you Hester. Yes, and I don't know about you, but there are times I reread something I've written and think, "Gee, why don't I receive my own words." Our faith is truly a journey, one step, one lesson at a time. And grace upon grace.

      Thank you dear sister!