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

More excerpts from this title...


Many times evil spirits also take away the power of concentration in the believers’ minds. The power of concentration is different from believer to believer. But according to the experience of believers, a variation in the power of concentration mainly comes as a result of the evil spirits’ distraction. Many believers seem unable to concentrate their thoughts. Some are a little better. If they try to concentrate on one thing for a few minutes, they find their thoughts flying all over the place instead. This is especially true when one is praying, reading the Scriptures, or listening to a message. Many believers feel that their mind is always wandering. Although they have made up their mind to concentrate, it cannot be done in actuality. Although they exercise the will to control these racing thoughts, and although it may produce some effect for a while, nothing seems to last for long. Sometimes they find themselves completely out of control within themselves. All these are the works of evil spirits. But these works occur because the believers’ minds have already reserved ground for them. It is unfortunate that believers waste away their mental power in this way. The result is that nothing is accomplished all day long. Just as it is a damage to waste physical energy, it is a damage to waste mental energy. Many believers today have wasted much time and not secured any results because their minds are under the attack of evil spirits and unable to concentrate.

Because evil spirits attack the mind in such a way, believers often experience a kind of "absentmindedness." Initially the mind is sharp. Suddenly, there is an emptiness, and one finds his thoughts flying away to nowhere. He does not know what he is doing or what book he is reading. He may think that his mind is on something else. However, the point to realize is that these kinds of thoughts are not initiated by one’s own will. Countless numbers of believers have the experience of a sudden loss of hearing of what others are saying during the meetings and also at normal times. It is evil spirits which are causing them to not hear the words which are profitable to them. At such moments, evil spirits either cause their minds to stop functioning or force them to think about something else.

After a believer’s mind has been attacked by evil spirits, it is very difficult for him to listen to others. Sometimes, he seems to miss a few sentences or a few words. Before he can understand what the other party is saying, he must wrinkle his forehead in order to try to hear the words. Often he does not understand the very obvious meaning of the other party, or he misunderstands the teachings given to him by the other party. All these are caused by the disturbance of evil spirits in his mind, who put many prejudices into him or interpret the meaning of the words for him. The believer hears men and demons speaking at the same time. Therefore, he either hears nothing or he misunderstands. Many believers become disinclined or unable to hear others speak because evil spirits work this way. Before others finish their words, they want to cut in with something. This happens because evil spirits have given them many thoughts, forcing them to listen to them and speak what they have put into them. At such times, a believer hears two voices at the same time, one from the outside and one from the inside. He hears suggestions from evil spirits within, and he hears men’s words without. Since the voices within are closer than the voices without, the believer’s ears will seem to be blocked from hearing the voices without. What is ordinarily known as "absentmindedness," is in fact just the heart being occupied by evil spirits. How many times do believers think that they have become "absent-minded," when in fact their hearts have just been captured by evil spirits. If believers do not rid themselves of the work of evil spirits in their minds, it will be impossible for them to concentrate their minds on anything.

Because of evil spirits’ disturbance in the minds of the believers, they shake their heads, as if to shake out the undesirable things. If they say something, they have to say it loudly in order to let their own minds hear what they are saying and to leave an impression. If they think, they also have to loudly speak what they are thinking. Otherwise, their muddled minds do not understand. If they read, they also have to loudly read. Otherwise, they do not understand what they read. All these are the result of the disturbance of evil spirits in the mind. They cannot concentrate their thoughts, and they have to do these things before their minds can receive a little impression or know anything.

(Spiritual Man, The (3 volume set), Chapter 32, by Watchman Nee)