Collected Works of Watchman Nee, The (Set 1) Vol. 01: The Christian Life and Warfare, by Watchman Nee


Satan also goes about in various disguises. Peter writes, "Be sober, be vigilant, because your adversary the devil, as A ROARING LION, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour; whom resist, stedfast in the faith" (1 Peter, v. 8, 9). Are you quite sure you must be a special exception, and that he will not "devour you, nor touch you? If not, then "be sober," never be off guard one minute. Be watchful, for your adversary "walketh about." He is your adversary as well as Christ’s, and he goes about roaring as a lion, making a noise which deafens and frightens so many. The adversary "roars" by stirring up "flesh and blood." He as a spirit must find channels for his working. If he "roars" he must find a human voice to roar through. Therefore the children of God should be on guard, and never act under the pressure of others, nor come to decisions in a time of storm. When there is clamour and strife of tongues, they should wait and be still. The adversary’s "roar" is to drive them into a false step, and out of the calm, clear knowledge of the will of God. Always recognise the adversary behind flesh and blood when there is a clamour of voices, and stand still in the position of victory. When your eyes are opened to see and understand the devices of the enemy, you will lose sight of "flesh and blood," and realise that you must never act under the clamour of men. Alas, alas, the roaring lion can hide behind the greatest saint! Not with the saint’s conscious co-operation, of course, but none the less true on that account. This is one of the solemn things we have to learn to-day, as we discover how the enemy can use some of God’s best children unconsciously to themselves, simply because they are not awake to his power and his devices.

The reason for this is that Satan works on the "natural" man. He makes the "natural man" come to you with his viewpoint (see Matt. xvi, 22, 23), and his alarming pictures but you do not see the "roaring lion" in that; so you get frightened and wonder whether you are in the will of God; you get confused and lose your guidance, and the devil accomplishes his purpose.


Then you will find in 2 Cor. xi, 14, that the prince of the air also goes about as an ANGEL OF LIGHT. As a lion he seeks to DEVOUR, as an angel of light he seeks to deceive. Satan is a deceiver. If he can appear clothed in light—the very nature of God—then your "vision" can be no protection to you. When Satan makes a roar behind the voices of men your ears are no protection to you, and when he comes as an angel of light, vision is not enough to detect him. You say "it was ALL LIGHT" so it must be "of God;" yet the prince of darkness can appear as "light" i.e., as God. You must therefore have more ways of detecting and testing him than by vision, i.e., eyesight (even spiritual eyesight) and hearing. The safest detecting test is "fruit" (Matt. vii, 20), and KNOWLEDGE OF BASIC PRINCIPLES WHICH ETERNALLY DIVIDE BETWEEN GOD AND SATAN. Between Him who is truth itself, and Satan, the "father of lies."

In 2 Cor. xii, 7, we see how the adversary goes about as A TORMENTOR of the most godly and saintly servants of God. He "buffeted" Paul—and he did it with God’s permission—"A MESSENGER OF SATAN TO BUFFET ME." Paul’s resource was prayer, "I besought the Lord," he said, and then came strength to "glory in his weakness." In Luke xxii, 31, we see also he goes about as a sifter of the children of God. He attacks them in all these varied ways, "as a roaring lion," an "angel of light," a buffeter and a sifter.


In relation to all these four aspects of the adversary’s workings, there is one strong central position which the believer must hold toward them all. We have it tersely described in James iv, 7. "SUBMIT YOURSELVES TO GOD, RESIST THE DEVIL AND HE WILL FLEE;" which briefly means, say "Yes" to God, and "No" to the devil. "Joined to the Lord one spirit" your place is with Christ on the throne "far above all principality and power," and this position of victory you must hold persistently by the power of the Holy Ghost, whilst in regard to the approaches and attacks of Satan, you will, as the deciding factor, persistently assert your choice to walk with God. From the POSITION OF VICTORY you are to be awake to what Satan seeks to do to your circumference in all his various disguises, and from your centre-position to say in your will just "Yes" or "No"—i.e., "Yes" to God, "No" to the devil.

Granted your spirit in union with Christ, how can you be free from the bondage of the enemy in your circumference; that is to say, in mind or body? The spirit is in union with Christ in victory, but the enemy can attack the MIND with depression, and with dullness, or inflame the imagination, and the body, with its nerves and muscles, in fact, all that is in the circumference.

If the believer understands his true position in Christ, and maintains a simple attitude, of (1) submission to all that is of God, and (2) resistance to all that comes from the adversary, these attacks do cease. The "fight" is to maintain the attitude of victory in Christ; and to keep the helm of the ship set towards God; the "resistance" is a refusal to yield to Satan at all costs—THEN HE DOES FLEE.

But suppose the adversary appears as "light," and gets the "Yes" of the will under disguise? Alas, it is Yes, even though the believer gave the "yes" under deception, and it gives the adversary power over the believer TO THE EXTENT OF THE "YES" WHICH THE DECEIVER OBTAINED BY FRAUD.

(Collected Works of Watchman Nee, The (Set 1) Vol. 01: The Christian Life and Warfare, Chapter 19, by Watchman Nee)