Collected Works of Watchman Nee, The (Set 1) Vol. 14: The Spiritual Man (3), by Watchman Nee


After a believer repents, his mind is not completely delivered from Satan’s workings. As Satan previously worked through the mind, he still works now through the mind. The apostle said to the believers in Corinth, "But I fear lest somehow, as the serpent deceived Eve by his craftiness, your thoughts would be corrupted from the simplicity and the purity toward Christ" (2 Cor. 11:3). The apostle knew how the god of this world had blinded the minds of the unbelievers and, in the same way, how he was deluding the minds of those who already had believed. The apostle knew that even though the believers were already saved, their minds were not yet renewed. Therefore, it remains the most critical battlefield—the mind receives more attacks from the authority of darkness than any other organ of man’s entire being. We must realize that evil spirits of Satan pay special attention to our minds and that they always attack us in our minds. "As the serpent deceived Eve by his craftiness." Satan did not attack Eve’s heart first, he attacked her mind first. In the same manner, evil spirits want to attack our mind first, not our heart, with the purpose of corrupting us from a faith in simplicity. They know that our mind is the weakest spot. Before we believed, the mind was their stronghold; even now there are still many places that are not yet overthrown. They start where they can be most successful. Eve’s heart was sinless, but she accepted the thought suggested by Satan in her mind. She was enchanted by the power of his subtlety to the point that her mind lost its rationality, thereby becoming trapped. Therefore, it is useless for a believer to boast that he is upright in his motive. His mind must be trained to withstand evil spirits. Otherwise, they will have a way to tempt and to deceive his mind, and will cause his will to lose its power of decision.

Following 2 Corinthians 11:3, the apostle tells us where this danger comes from. Some will preach "another Jesus," causing them to "receive a different spirit" and accept "a different gospel" (v. 4). This means that the danger to the believers is to have erroneous teachings instilled into their minds which will lead them away from the pure gospel of Christ. This is what the "serpent" wants to do today. Satan will pretend to be an angel of light so that in their minds, believers will worship "another Jesus" who is not the Lord, receive "a different spirit" which is not the Holy Spirit, and through the believers spread "a different gospel" which is not the gospel of God’s grace. The apostle told us that all this is done by Satan in the mind of the believers. One by one, Satan turns these "teachings" into thoughts and instills them into the mind of the believers. It is a very pitiful thing today that few believers are able to know these matters. How many believers know that Satan gives "good" thoughts to man?

We should know that a believer can receive a new life, a new heart, but not a new mind. Many believers have a new heart, but their head is old. The heart is full of love, but the head (the mind) does not have any discernment. Many are pure in their motive, but not so clear in the thoughts in their head. The mind is full of all kinds of mixture and very lacking in crucial, spiritual discernment. Many believers truly have a tender regard in their hearts for all of God’s children, yet their minds are full of ideals, opinions, and goals. Many of God’s best and most faithful children are very narrow and prejudiced in their thoughts. They have made up their minds about the truth. They only want their kind of truth and completely reject anything else which does not agree with their prejudices. All this happens because their heads are not as big as their hearts. There are also many of God’s children whose minds can never come up with anything. Although they have heard many truths, they can never remember them; neither can they put them into practice or spread them to others. They have heard plenty, but there is no strength to express what they have heard. Though they have been receiving truths for years, they cannot meet the smallest needs of others. This kind of people may even boast that they are full of the Holy Spirit! This happens because their minds have not been completely renewed.

Man’s head does more damage to him than his heart! If believers could differentiate between the renewing of the heart and the renewing of the head, they would not be misled to trust in man. Believers must know that a man can have the most intimate fellowship with God, and at the same time, the mind can unintentionally receive the suggestions of Satan, bringing his conduct, speech, and judgment into error. Other than the clear teaching of the Bible, no one person’s word is entirely dependable. We should not live by the words of any one person just because we are close to him or admire and honor him. We must realize that even though a person’s words and deeds are very holy, his thoughts are not necessarily entirely spiritual. Our attention should not be on his words and deeds, but on his mind, his head. If we believe what a worker says to be God’s truth based on the words and conduct of the worker, we are making his words and conduct the standard for the truth, and not the Bible. Throughout history, many propagators of heresies were holy believers! Even though their heart—life—was renewed, their head—mind—was the same as before. Therefore, they behaved in such a way. We admit that life is more important than knowledge—many times more important—but after we have been edified in life, we should not neglect the pursuit of knowledge, that is, the knowledge that proceeds from the renewed mind. Believers must realize that both their heart and mind must be renewed.

If the mind is not renewed, a believer’s life will not be balanced; it will be almost impossible to do any work. Most teachings today emphasize a believer’s spiritual life (the heart)—how one should love, be patient, humble, etc. These are surely very important, and nothing can substitute for these things. However, we should not think that these are sufficient to make up all the needs. They are important, but they do not include everything. It is equally important for a believer’s mind to be renewed and enlarged and increase in strength so that it becomes strong. Otherwise, we will have an imbalanced life. Many people think that a spiritual believer should be one without any perception. It seems that the more foolish one is, the better. Besides being a little better than others in his living, he has no other usefulness, and he cannot be entrusted with anything. Of course, we do not want worldly intelligence and knowledge. But the goal of God’s salvation is not that we would continue to use the same mind that was defiled by sin. God wants our mind to be renewed in the same way that our spirit is renewed. God wants our mind to be restored to the perfect condition that existed at the time of His creation so that we will not only glorify God in our living, but also with our mind. Countless numbers of God’s children have become narrow, obstinate, hard, and even defiled through the negligence of their minds. The result is that they have come short of God’s glory. Believers must know that in order for their lives to be full, their minds must be renewed. God’s kingdom is lacking in workers because the minds of many believers are incapable of bearing anything. Believers forget that after they are saved, they should still pursue the full renewing of their mind. This results in their work being hindered. This is why the Bible emphatically tells the believers, "Be transformed by the renewing of the mind" (Rom. 12:2).

(Collected Works of Watchman Nee, The (Set 1) Vol. 14: The Spiritual Man (3), Chapter 1, by Watchman Nee)