REGAINING THE GROUND
We have previously mentioned that evil spirits are able to work in the mind of the believer because he has given them the ground. We have also mentioned what this ground is. We can briefly divide it into six items. If we sum up these six items, they can be classified into three main groups: (1) the unrenewed mind, (2) accepting (or believing in) the lies of evil spirits, and (3) a state of passivity. The believer must carefully examine what kind of ground he has given to evil spirits and what has led him to his present condition. Is it the unrenewed mind? Is it that he has believed in the lies of evil spirits? Is it a passive mind? Or is it a combination of all three of these? According to the experience of the believer, many have given this kind of ground to the evil spirits. If he realizes in which aspect or aspects he has given ground to the evil spirits, he should regain the ground that he has given to them. Regaining the ground is the only way to obtain deliverance. Because the believer reserved ground for evil spirits, he fell into his present position; therefore, once the ground is removed, the believer will gain freedom. The unrenewed mind must be renewed. The lies that were accepted from the evil spirits must be uncovered and refused. Passivity must be changed into self-governing activity. Now we want to see the regaining of these three kinds of ground separately.
The Renewing of the Mind
God not only wants the minds of His children to be transformed at the time of their repentance, but to be renewed completely like a transparent crystal. There is such a command in the Bible because the believer has not yet been completely freed from the fleshly mind that evil spirits can work through. At first, a believer just has a narrow mind, which is unable to tolerate others; or he may have a foolish mind, which is unable to understand profound doctrines; or he may have an ignorant mind, which is unable to bear important work. But later, he may degenerate into deeper sins "because the mind set on the flesh is enmity against God" (Rom. 8:7). After many believers have learned the teaching in Romans 6, they often think that they are completely freed from the fleshly mind. Little do they know that the effectiveness of the cross must be applied in detail to every part of man. After reckoning "yourselves to be dead to sin" (v. 11), believers should "not let sin therefore reign in your mortal body" (v. 12). Likewise after the mind has been transformed, they should "take captive every thought unto the obedience of Christ" (2 Cor. 10:5). The mind must be renewed completely because, no matter how little remains of the fleshly mind, it is still enmity against God.
If we want to have our mind renewed, we must come to the cross, for it is here that we can have the renewal. This is clearly explained in Ephesians 4. In verses 17 through 18 the apostle speaks of the darkness of man’s fleshly mind. In verses 22 through 23 he speaks of the way of renewing: "That you put off, as regards your former manner of life, the old man, which is being corrupted according to the lusts of the deceit, and that you be renewed in the spirit of your mind." We know that our old man has been crucified with the Lord (Rom. 6:6), but these verses advise that we should "put off" in order for our mind to be renewed. By this we can see that the renewing of the mind is through the cross. Believers should know that our old mind is a part of the old man, which God wants us to "put off" completely. The salvation which God has carried out on the cross does not just give us a new life. He also wants to renew all the functions of our soul. The salvation within the depth of our whole being must be "worked out" gradually (Phil. 2:12). What is lacking today is that believers do not know that their minds need to be saved (Eph. 6:17). They think that salvation is a general and ambiguous matter. They do not realize that God wants to save our whole being in order that all of our faculties may be renewed and become perfectly suitable for His use. Our mind is one of our faculties. God wants the believer to believe that the cross has crucified his old man. He should acknowledge God’s judgment on his old man in a definite way and exercise his will to reject—to put off—the conduct of his old man, which includes his old way of thinking. He should be willing to come to the cross and forsake his old mind, his old way of thinking, and his old reasoning; he should be willing to trust in God for a new one. Brothers, all of these should be put off in a definite way. The renewing of the mind is God’s work; but the putting off (the rejecting) and the denying (the forsaking) of the old mind is your work. If you take care of your part, God will fulfill His part. After you have put off in a definite way, you should believe that God will do the renewing for you in a definite way, even though you may not yet know the way to be renewed.
(Spiritual Man, The (3 volume set), Chapter 33, by Watchman Nee)