Perhaps the greatest example of being equipped against the enemy comes from our Lord Jesus Himself. In Matthew 4, we have the account of the temptation of Jesus by the devil. After just being baptized and anointed by the Holy Spirit, Jesus was led by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted.
Matthew 4:1-11 says this: "Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. And after He had fasted forty days and forty nights, He then became hungry. And the tempter came and said to Him, “If you are the Son of God, command that these stones become bread.” But He answered and said “It is written, Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God.”
Then the devil took Him into the holy city and had Him stand on the pinnacle of the temple, and said to Him, “if You are the Son of God throw yourself down; for it is written, ‘He will command His angels concerning you; and on their hands they will bear you up, so that you do not strike your foot against a stone.’” Jesus said to him, “On the other hand, it is written ‘You shall not put the Lord your God to the test.’”
Again, the devil took Him to a very high mountain and showed Him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory; and he said to Him, “All these things I will give You if You fall down and worship me.” Then Jesus said to him, “Go Satan! For it is written, ‘You shall worship the Lord your God, and serve Him only.’” Then the devil left Him; and behold, angels came and began to minister to Him.
What we need to understand from this passage is just how much pressure Jesus was under during this temptation. Imagine being extremely hungry from fasting forty days. Being tired because most likely He hasn’t slept during that time. And being tempted by the devil himself, who originally caused Adam and Eve to fall in Genesis 3.
I mean Jesus was in an intense, high duress situation. The devil starts off by saying “If you are the Son of God,” which immediately tries to put doubt into Jesus’ mind that maybe I’m not the Son of God. Then he tempts Him with creating food because he knows the man is nearly starving. I imagine the devil probably had been watching Jesus fast for forty days while planning how he was going to tempt Him. He probably wanted to bring his “A game” to tempt the King of kings.
I can only imagine what may have been trying to go through His mind. Maybe something like “Wait, am I really the Son of God? I mean, my dad was a carpenter. How do I know for sure? Maybe I can turn the stones to bread and see if I am or not, then at least I can eat something cause I’m starving!” I don’t know for sure what Jesus was thinking because the Bible doesn’t specifically tell us. We don’t even know how long it took Jesus to respond back to the devil. Maybe He stood there a moment. Maybe it was an immediate response. But what we do know is that He was in fact tempted, which tells us there was pressure, stress, and anxiety for at least an instant. Jesus had to choose His words wisely and recall all the times He studied the word in order to be equipped for a moment like this.
I would even submit to you that there were many Pharisees who also knew all the same scriptures that Jesus responded to the devil with. Yet, they would not have been able to resist the temptation because they were educated but not equipped. Jesus was equipped to face the devil because He spent time and fellowship with the Father. He prayed, studied the word of God, and meditated on the scriptures every day.
Another point we need to realize, is just because we are equipped for the first battle, the devil comes again. I mean the enemy is persistent in attacking us. Jesus was tempted three times, each being more tempting than the previous. This tells us the devil will come harder and stronger each time trying to break us.
The third temptation may have possibly been the hardest for Jesus to overcome. The devil knew Jesus was kingdom-minded, so He tempted Him with all the kingdoms of the world. The Lord knew already that He would have to die for humanity and be temporarily separated from the Father to bring God’s kingdom back to the earth. So the devil gives Him an easy way out, and says “Hey, know what. Just worship me and I’ll give you all these kingdoms. It’s a win, win for both of us.” And Jesus was tempted! It seemed like a viable alternative.
But praise God, He was so well-equipped from a life of devotion to the Father and spending time in the Spirit, that He roared up and rebuked the enemy! I imagine he yelled “Go Satan! For it is written, ‘You shall worship the Lord your God, and serve Him only.’” In essence, it’s like He pulled the pin on the grenade and blasted the devil’s temptations to pieces. He beat him up so bad with the word of God that the devil had to run away. He left Him for a season. Hallelujah! Jesus was the epitome of a man equipped to battle the enemy.
Had Jesus only been educated on the word instead of equipped, then it is likely He may have never withstood the temptation of Satan. The same is true in our own lives today. We must learn the word and be able to apply our education in real situations we face every day.
Apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors, and teachers should all be striving to equip God’s people rather than just educate them, cause’ when the pressure is on, education alone will never be enough. As citizens in God’s kingdom, we must be prepared to not only know what to do, but do what to do.