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


There is one common principle that underlies all the ground given to the evil spirits. This is passivity, which means that the will is not active. Hence, in order to reclaim the ground, the will must become active once again. The believer must (1) obey God’s will, (2) oppose Satan’s will, and (3) exercise his own will and join himself to the will of the saints. The responsibility of reclaiming the ground lies with the will. Since the will was passive, the will has to oppose the passivity.

The first step that the will has to take is to decide. To decide is to set the will in a certain direction. Once a believer, who has suffered from evil spirits, becomes enlightened by the truth and stirred up by the Holy Spirit, he will no longer be able to bear the continuous attachment of evil spirits. Spontaneously, he will be led to a position of hating the evil spirits. He will resolve to oppose all the works of evil spirits. He will decide to regain his freedom and his sovereignty. He will also decide to drive out evil spirits. God’s Holy Spirit will work in him to create a hatred for evil spirits. The more he suffers, the more he hates. The more he is bound, the more he hates. The more he thinks about it, and the more time that goes by, the more he hates. In the end, he will be determined to be fully delivered from the power of darkness. This kind of decision is the first step towards reclaiming the ground. If this decision is genuine, a person will not turn back no matter how much he is opposed by evil spirits in the process of his reclamation. He has resolved and made up his mind to oppose evil spirits hereafter.

The believer must also exercise his will to choose. This means that he must choose his own future. In the days of warfare, the choice of a believer occupies an important place. The believer should constantly declare that he chooses freedom, wants freedom, and will not be passive. He will exercise his own faculties and identify all the wiles of evil spirits. He wants the evil spirits to fail, and he wants to cut off all ties with the power of darkness. He will reject all the lies and excuses from evil spirits. This kind of choosing with the will and this kind of repeated declaration is very useful in warfare. We should realize that this kind of declaration simply shows that the believer has made such a choice; it does not mean that the believer has decided to do such a thing. The power of darkness is not affected by what the believer has "decided" to do. However, if the believer chooses to oppose evil spirits in a specific way with his will, they will flee away. All these things are related to the principle of man having a free will. Although the believer may have once allowed them to come in, he now can choose something different from what he once allowed and leave no ground to evil spirits.

In this warfare, the believer should carry out all the work of the will vigorously. In addition to making decisions and making choices, he must also resist. This means that he exercises the power of the will to withstand evil spirits. Moreover, he should reject. To reject is to close oneself and give nothing to the evil spirits. On the one hand, the believer should oppose the work of evil spirits in him, and on the other hand, he should reject evil spirits. To oppose means to stop evil spirits from further works; to reject means to remove all previous promises given to evil spirits, that is, to remove all the promises that brought in their work. Hence, when rejection is added to opposition, the evil spirits will be unable to work. First we must oppose, then we must have a rejecting attitude. For example, we should reject the evil spirits by saying, "I am resolved." This means that we exercise our will to lay hold of freedom. But we also need to oppose, which means that we have to exert strength in a real way to combat the enemy and maintain the freedom that our will has secured through rejection. This kind of rejection and opposition must continue until we are completely free.

Resisting is a real warfare. Resistance requires the combined strength of the spirit, soul, and body. But the main part that must be exercised is the will. Deciding, choosing, and rejecting are all matters of attitude. But resisting is a matter of practice. Resisting is the act that expresses the attitude. It involves a wrestling in the spirit and with the power of the spirit in which the will pushes out the ground that the evil spirits stand on. It is an assault on the battleground of the power of darkness. Resisting is a driving away, a chasing out, and a pushing aside with the power of the will. Evil spirits occupy the ground that the believer has given to them. When they see the believer’s attitude of opposition, they still occupy their original ground and will not retreat. To resist is for the believer to drive out evil spirits with "real power." To resist is for the believer to "compel" the evil spirits and force them to be "evicted." Hence, when a believer is engaged in such a resisting work, he must exert his strength and exercise his will to drive out the evil spirits. Otherwise, a declaration in the attitude is useless. Practice must go side by side with attitude. Moreover, it is of little use to resist without also rejecting, because promises given to evil spirits at the beginning must be reclaimed.

In the process of reclaiming the ground, the believer must decide with his will and choose and reject. He must resist with his will. He must decide to fight the warfare. He must choose freedom. He must reject all ground and withstand the enemy from occupying further ground and taking away his freedom. In the midst of such decision, rejection, choosing, and withstanding, the believer is fighting for his sovereignty. We should never forget the matter of the free will. God has given us a free will. Hence, we ought to be our own master. Yet now, evil spirits have taken over our members and their functions and have become the masters of our "being." We have lost our sovereignty. When a believer begins to reclaim his ground, he is opposing the evil spirits in their work of "replacing" him. Therefore, he has to fight. The believer must continually declare that he will not allow evil spirits to infringe on his right. He will not allow evil spirits to infringe on his personality. He will not allow evil spirits to attach themselves to him. He will not allow evil spirits to take over his being. He will not follow evil spirits blindly. He will not! He will not! He will be his own master. He wants to know what he is doing. He will take control of his being. He wants his whole being to be subject to him. He rejects all the works of evil spirits on him. He rejects all their rights to work on him. When he exercises his own will to utter his own decision, choice, and rejection, evil spirits will not be able to go on with their works. Since the will has decided, rejected, and chosen, he should follow up with the resistance of his will.

(Collected Works of Watchman Nee, The (Set 1) Vol. 14: The Spiritual Man (3), Chapter 8, by Watchman Nee)