Spiritual Man, The (3 volume set), by Watchman Nee

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If we examine all the experiences in the minds of the believers, we will realize that the minds of the believers are not just narrow; they also have many other sicknesses. For example, the mind is affected by thoughts and imaginations that cannot be controlled, filthy pictures, wandering and chaotic recollections, sudden loss of memory, prejudices that come from nowhere, lack of concentration, thoughts that are stagnant and obstructed as if the mind is chained, or fanatical thoughts that turn uncontrollably. Believers always feel that they have no strength to control their minds or direct them according to the will. Moreover, they often find themselves prone to forget about all kinds of things, great and small. They find themselves unknowingly committing many "indiscreet" mistakes, without ever bothering to learn the reason for committing them. As far as their body is concerned, they do not seem to have any illness. Yet they do not clearly know why their minds have these symptoms of sickness. Many believers’ minds today are like this, but they do not know the cause.

If a believer realizes that his mind is affected in the way mentioned above, he only needs to consider a few things to know where these ailments come from. He only needs to ask himself a few questions: Who controls his mind? Does he control it? If he does, why is he unable to control it now? Is it God who controls it? According to the principle of the Bible, God does not control man’s mind for him. (We will speak in detail concerning this. For now, we will only mention it in brief.) If neither he nor God controls it, who does? It has to be the authority of darkness who usurps the mind and brings forth these kinds of symptoms. Therefore, when a believer sees that he cannot control his own mind, he should know that this is the enemy’s work. One point should always be remembered: man has a free will. God’s goal is for man to rule himself. Man has the authority to rule over all of his own faculties. Hence, the mind should come under the rule of the will. A believer should ask himself if he has such a mind, and if his thoughts are his own. If they are not his own, they must be the work of evil spirits who work within man’s mind. The will does not want to think, and the mind desires to obey the will. In spite of this, the mind finds itself continually thinking. This means that the thoughts in the mind are no longer his own thoughts, but the work of another "person" who is utilizing his thoughts against his will. If a believer does not choose to think, the thoughts that are in his mind are no longer his; they belong to evil spirits.

If a believer wants to differentiate which thoughts are his own and which are evil spirits, he should pay attention to how his "thoughts" come about. If his mind is initially quiet, steady, unperturbed, and working according to its disposed position, and suddenly, an idea or a thought comes like lightning that is totally unrelated to his work or his disposed position or is totally out of order, then the flashing thought is the work of evil spirits. Their intention is to inject their thoughts into the mind of the believer, fooling him into thinking that they are his own thoughts. As a rule, the thoughts that evil spirits inject into man’s mind are always something that he does not have and something that is contrary to his usual train of thought. They are totally "new" and are sudden ideas that the person has never thought of before. After a believer has such a thought, he should first ask if he is thinking this way. Is it really him thinking? Does he want to think this way? Or is the "thought" itself being stirred up in the mind? Is it something he does not want and has never thought of before? A believer should find out if he is thinking the thoughts. If he has not originated the thought and is, in fact, against such a thought, even though the thought somehow finds its way into his mind, he can conclude that the thought has come from evil spirits. All the thoughts that his will never endorses, and all the thoughts that are actually against his will, are thoughts that are not from man himself, but are from outside.

(Spiritual Man, The (3 volume set), Chapter 31, by Watchman Nee)