There are only two basic ways Satan can cause a believer to stumble out of fellowship and into sin. The first way is through pressure and the second is through pleasure. Satan does not have authority to simply grab a believer by the neck and pull him to the land of sin. The only way that Satan can take advantage of a believer is if a believer allows him.
When looking at someone such as David, it is very clear how for years and years the predominant tactic used on him was pressure. For all the time that Saul hunted him and he had to hide in caves the pressure of survival was intense. Many of the Psalms reflect the battles that David fought both with humans as well as in his own mind. Trials and tribulations generate the pressure mentally to quit. If the enemy can cause a believer to scream; "I can't take it anymore", he has won.
Pressure is likened to the mind being put in a pair of vice grips and then squeezed. During intense bouts of tribulation, the mind many times feels like there is no way out of the situation. Once panic sets in, then it usually is only a matter of time until the battle is over and the enemy wins. Pressure uses fears to succeed. Fear of failure, death or losing your family or house generates pressure too hard to handle at times. If fear can be overcome, pressure usually can be dealt with. If fear is allowed to persist, then pressure will ultimately cause calamity.
Absolute ruthless trust is the only way to beat fear and handle pressure. Refusing to yield to the temptation of hopelessness keeps the heart peaceful in the midst of the storms. Denying the flesh the opportunity to "freak out" allows the mind to come back to God's promises and in turn breeds trust in them. So much of handling pressure is the result of staying faithful in your heart to the Word of God.
When the three men were told to bow or burn by king Nebuchadnezzar they most certainly had good reason to fear, freak out and crumble under the burden of pressure. If they would have yielded to the temptation to fear, they would have never boldly told the king what they said in Daniel 3:18:
"But if not (God deliver us), let it be known to you, O king, that we do not serve your gods, nor will we worship the gold image which you have set up."
Fearlessness breeds confidence in the promises of God. The three men of Daniel refused to compromise their faith and did not allow fear lead them into sin. Their faith let them into the fiery furnace, but the angel of God protected them and led them to safety. To them, it did not matter if God delivered them or not, they were still not going to bow down to the image the king had set up. Faith conquers fear every time the two square off.
Ruthless faith in the promises of God is what allows us to not succumb to the temptation to buckle under pressure. Trusting in the shallow promises of man will not help, and compromise most definitely will not help. Complete and utter faith in God (absolute trust) gives us peace in the midst of the storm and guides our heart to the harbor of God's love.
When pressure does not work, the enemy resorts to pleasure. The lust of the flesh and of the eyes will in due time cause the wisest heart to turn away from God. Just ask King Solomon about it. The lust of the flesh and of the eyes will ultimately lead the strongest person down the road of perdition and destruction. Just ask Samson about it. The lust of the flesh and of the eyes will cause even a man after God's own heart to sin in ways worse than the worst God rejecter. Just ask King David about it.
Once the door is opened and lust is allowed in the mind, the downward spiral begins that leads to seduction and destruction. The hardest thing to tell yourself is "NO", but in many instances, we must or face dire consequences. The enemy is an expert at seduction. He seduced Eve in the Garden and has seduced wonderful men and women of God ever since. Through his endless suggestions, he breaks down the Godly defense in the mind and in time manages to get even the strongest person to consider what he is saying.
This post all started by reading the Proverb for the day, which was Proverbs chapter 7. The chapter is almost X rated and deals with how the seductress manages to cause the young man to fall for her charms. The only defense was given at the beginning of the chapter when it speaks of binding wisdom upon our hearts and never letter her go. If a person quits reading, thinking about and living the Word of God; the door is opened to heeding the suggestions of the enemy who makes himself appear to be someone wise and beautiful and of God.
It is incredible how many strong, wise and mature men of God fall for the seducing lies of the enemy and somehow justify in their own minds it is allowable for them to stray outside their marriage, become addicted to drugs or even murder those not loyal to him. All of these things have been committed by men of God who headed up ministries. They all fell for the seducing whispers of the enemy who assured them there would be no harm come from their indiscretions. Oh the father of lies...
The only way to avoid falling for seducing lies of the enemy is to gird up the loins of the mind with God's Word and refuse to compromise no matter what. A steeled mind can withstand the strongest temptation to stray. A heart fully trusting in God's promises can withstand the temptation to buckle under pressure.
If we can stay in the Word of God and allow the Word of God to abide in us, we can usually endure the pressures and pleasures directed at us by our foe. But, if we start slipping away from the Word in thought or deed, then the door is opened which allows our adversary access to the weak points in our lives. Be strong in the Lord and the pressures and pleasures will come, but never cause you to fail.