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


Any ground given by the believers to evil spirits induces the work of evil spirits. Of all these grounds, the most important one is passivity because passivity expresses the attitude of the will, and the will represents the whole person. Passivity can cause evil spirits to work freely. Of course, such work is always camouflaged on the outside so that believers do not realize that evil spirits are working. Believers sink into passivity through their ignorance. When they misunderstand the place of the mind in the spiritual life, by either considering it more important or less important, they allow their own minds to sink into passivity. Then they follow the thoughts of the passive mind. Hence, it is indispensable to clearly see the way of God’s leading.

Passivity of the mind is caused by misunderstanding the meaning of consecration to God and obeying the Holy Spirit. Many believers think that their thoughts are hindrances to their spiritual lives. Little do they know that the real hindrance is when their head stops working or when it works in disarray. They do not realize that the proper functioning of the head is profitable and necessary because only by functioning in this way will one be able to co-labor with God. We have said emphatically before that the right way to follow God’s leading is to depend on the intuition and not on the mind. This is very crucial, and we should not forget it. A believer should follow the revelation in the intuition and not the thoughts in the mind. Those who walk according to the mind are walking according to the flesh. This leads to the wrong way. However, this does not mean that the mind is useless in secondary things. If we regard the mind as an organ for direct fellowship with God and for receiving revelation, we are greatly wrong. But this does not mean that the mind should not fulfill its part of the work or help the intuition. The intuition is the organ that knows God’s will. But we still need the mind to examine and see if our feeling proceeds from the intuition or if it is a counterfeit of our own emotions. We have to know if the inner feeling is God’s will and according to the Bible. We know with our intuition, but we confirm with our mind. How easily we are prone to make mistakes! If we do not have the assistance of the mind, it is hard for us to decide what is of God.

The proper track of guidance requires the mind. The guidance of the intuition on many occasions is contrary to reason, and we should not use our mind to argue against our intuition; rather, we should use our mind to study if something is of God. It is a very quick thing for the intuition to know God’s will, but we need time to consider and ponder with our mind and see if what we know is of the intuition and the Holy Spirit. If it comes from God, while we are considering and pondering it, the intuition will give us a more definite feeling and cause us to have a deeper faith to believe that it is from God. This kind of work—and only this kind of examining—by the mind is profitable and proper. If this exercise is from fleshly thoughts and feelings, repeated examination will only cause the conscience to protest. Therefore, a rational investigation for the purpose of understanding whether or not something is from God is not an impediment, but an opportunity for the intuition to prove itself. If a matter is truly from the intuition, it will not be afraid of any investigation by the reason in the mind. On the contrary, many of the leadings that fear investigation probably originate from the self! The mind should not take the lead, but the mind is definitely needed in examining every kind of leading to see if it is from God.

This kind of teaching is scriptural because the Bible says, "Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is,"..."proving what is well pleasing to the Lord" (Eph. 5:17, 10). The function of the mind cannot be buried. God does not negate the faculty of man’s soul; rather, He renews and uses it. God wants believers to know what they are doing when they obey Him; He does not want to have senseless and blind obedience. God does not want believers to be muddle-headed about what they are doing. He does not want them to hear or feel something, presume that they are clear about God’s will, and then act accordingly. Neither does God want to directly manipulate any believer just to make him ignorantly obey in darkness. God wants the believer to understand His will and consciously exercise himself to obey. A lazy person does not want to bear any responsibility for himself; he just wants to passively allow God to use him or his members. But God wants man to actively seek His will and exercise his own will and himself to obey Him. God wants man’s intuition to agree with his consciousness.

However, believers do not realize that this is the right track of God’s leading. They allow themselves to sink into passivity, hoping that God will put His will into their minds. They may receive some supernatural leading and may follow blindly without examining with their minds whether this leading is from God. They may mindlessly exercise their members and, without a clear understanding of God’s will, hope that God would somehow use their members without their conscious effort. The result of this behavior is demon-possession. The condition for demon-possession is passivity in man. (We will speak of this in detail elsewhere.) When man does not use his own mind, God will not use his mind either, because doing so would contradict the principle of God’s work. The result is that evil spirits will seize the opportunity to take over the believer’s mind. Countless numbers of believers do not know that there are evil spirits in the world and that these evil spirits are doing their utmost to deceive God’s children. If believers fulfill the condition for evil spirits to work, they will work. Moreover, they are everywhere scouting and looking for an opportunity to come in to take over the believers. Therefore, it is a very foolish thing to allow the mind to sink into passivity.

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