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


While we can say with certainty that a believer can give ground to evil spirits, we need to ask what the ground is. Before a believer asks what ground he has inside, he should first study what is a ground. Otherwise, he will consider demon-possession to be something that it is not, or something that is not demon-possession to be demon-possession. Perhaps he will confuse his daily spiritual warfare with the dark authority with warfare for the freedom from demon-possession. By doing this, he will afford convenience for evil spirits to do their work.

In addition to the matter of sins, a believer should realize that he allows his will to become passive whenever he accepts the counterfeit of evil spirits, and he gives ground to evil spirits whenever he believes in their injected thoughts. (This point has been discussed in the previous chapter.) Presently our attention is on passivity. Being passive is allowing one’s own mind or body to fall into a state of complete inactivity—stopping the use of all one’s faculties. It is stopping all conscious effort to control the mind and use the will, conscience, and memory. Through passivity crucial ground is surrendered. Among the believers, the degree of passivity varies. The depth of passivity dictates the depth of one’s possession. Nevertheless, no matter to what degree of passivity the believer has fallen, he should remove this ground as long as there is passivity. A believer should resolutely, definitely, and steadfastly oppose evil spirits from gaining any ground in him. He should particularly oppose them in the areas where he was deceived. It is very important for a deceived believer to know the ground he has given up and claim back the ground.

A common thought concerning the matter of demon- possession is that one only needs to cast the demons out by the name of the Lord. But this method is not adequate when it comes to demon-possession in the believers, because there is a difference between possession in believers and possession in heathens. Heathens are possessed through their sins, while believers are possessed through deception. Hence, the way for deliverance is to be deceived no longer. If the cause of possession is deception, and we only order the demons to depart, we are only dealing with the effect and not the cause. This may work for a while, but one will not gain lasting freedom. Unless one deals with the cause of demon-possession, which has to do with the ground, the demons may obey and leave for a while, but they will come back through the ground they still occupy. This is not a theory. This is what the Lord meant in Matthew 12:43-45. If a "house" in which demons previously lived is not torn down, they may leave for a while, but they will soon come back, and the condition of the man will be worse than before. This "house" is the ground which man gives to evil spirits.

Hence, while it is important to cast out the demons, it is indispensable that one deals with the matter of the ground. Casting out demons is useless if the ground is not dealt with, because the demons will still come back. This is why many believers cannot secure a lasting freedom for themselves or others after casting out the demons in the name of the Lord. While demons can be cast away, the ground cannot be cast away; rather, the ground needs to be reclaimed. Unless one specifically and continuously reclaims the deceived and passive ground, there will not be lasting freedom.

If a believer does not deal with the ground he gives to evil spirits, it will cause evil spirits to come in and stay. Although one may cast out the demons in himself or others in the name of the Lord, and although the demons may appear to have left, the person is not really free. Only certain manifestations of the demons are gone. They may change to another kind of manifestation, or they may stop the present manifestation for a while to avoid further attack. When the believer becomes less watchful, they will renew their manifestations. In short, if the ground is not dealt with, demons will still have something to hold onto. The mind must receive the truth, and the will must vigorously, actively, and resolutely repudiate all the ground. This is the only way.

Therefore, when a believer realizes that he is possessed through deception, he should seek for light, find out what ground he has surrendered, and remove the ground. Evil spirits come in through the ground given to them. If we remove the ground, they will depart.

Therefore, when a believer finds out that he has given ground to evil spirits in a particular matter, he should immediately reclaim the ground. Since he became possessed by giving up his sovereignty and self-control and by falling into passivity, he should exercise his will vigorously and oppose the power of darkness through the power of God in the midst of various temptations and sufferings, rendering void the promises he gave to the evil spirits in the beginning. Since passivity sets in gradually, it can only be removed gradually. The degree of passivity that the believer has discovered is the degree that he can reject. If the passivity has extended for a long period of time, the deliverance will also take a long time. It is easy to go downhill, but it is hard to go uphill. It is easy to become passive, but it is hard to be free. It requires the cooperation of the believer’s whole being to reclaim the ground that he has surrendered. Only then can he be set free.

A believer must pray and ask God to show him where he is being deceived. He must sincerely desire God to show him the true condition of his whole being. Generally speaking, whatever a believer fears to hear and makes him uneasy when it is mentioned is an area where he has given ground to evil spirits. If the believer is afraid of dealing with something, he should deal with it, because nine times out of ten, evil spirits are occupying the ground behind it. A believer must receive light from God to examine his own sickness as well as other factors. After he is clear about his sickness, he should reclaim his ground from evil spirits in a definite way. Light is indispensable. Otherwise, the believer will regard supernatural things as natural things and things that belong to evil spirits as things that belong to the physical body. This enables evil spirits to attach themselves to the believer permanently without any hindrance. Having this attitude is the same as saying "amen" to the demons.

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