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


This is the reason why believers need light on the devices of the enemy. If the Lord Jesus is a reality to you, surely you can bear some light on the foe who is always seeking to trap your feet. How are you going to resist the foe if you do not know when he attacks you? If you do not know that he can take hold of your imagination, and torture you with his pictures, or your mind, and fill it with all kinds of thoughts, how are you going to resist him at these points. But immediately you RECOGNIZE that it is the adversary, he cannot stand the light, he will FLEE from you.

The Lord gave much light upon the characteristics and aims of the powers of darkness, which enable us to understand their workings, for they are the same now as then. For instance, the Lord said about the wicked spirit, that when it goes out of a man it goes "through waterless places seeking rest," then because it can find no relief, and no sustenance, it says it will go back to "MY HOUSE." This shows that a human being is looked upon by them as a "house" wherein they can find REST. This throws great light upon their condition and their desires. They want relief and nourishment, and outside the human "house," this is to them a world of waterless places.

We see therefore why Satan’s emissaries seek so actively to gain entrance to human bodies, and why when they can get a footing they seem to feed upon the vital power of the life, and dry up the sensibilities and even sympathies, withering up what has been expressively described as "the milk of human kindness." This explains the inhuman actions of fanaticism, and the cruelties performed under the name of religion, which is "not after Christ"; and how even "supernatural experiences" to-day act upon the man in such a way, as to rob him of all tenderness and kindness, for every touch of the Satanic power hardens, and blinds men to the needs and feelings of others.

We must speak plainly about these things, because of the paralysis that has come upon the spiritual section of the church, from these subtle workings of the enemy. Strife and division may be the fruit of the carnal life; but when there is lack of sympathy and tenderness amongst the fully-surrendered souls, we know it is not from the "carnal" life, but from the unrecognized workings of the enemy, causing the drying up of sympathy and love to others, joined to the same Lord. Whenever you find that "supernatural" experiences harden you, you may gravely question the source, for everything that comes from God makes you tender and sensitive. Note that metallic sound in the voice which tells of the adversary’s interference, and see how he brings the believer into bondage, and makes him hard, unreasonable, powerless and stony; whereas everything that comes from the Holy Spirit liberates, and quickens; increases tenderness, sympathy, acuteness of conscience, and power of discernment of right and wrong.

The reason also why many Christians do not get into full liberty in the life, lies in the fact that the Holy Spirit in the centre of them, is not relied upon to liberate the circumference. Many receive the fulness of the Spirit, but lose all the power of it, because there is a working of the enemy on their circumference which they are not aware of.


Full deliverance depends upon the recognition of the possibility of these things. But, you may say, "If I trust God to keep me, how can the adversary thus attack my body, or mind?" We need to understand that all God’s promises are conditional. If we trust God to keep us, and the conditions are not fulfilled, then our "faith is vain," i.e. if you trust God to keep you, and at the same moment FULFIL THE CONDITIONS for the enemy’s working, God does not stop him working. We must earnestly seek to know the conditions upon which God can do what we ask Him to do, otherwise we may be terribly deceived.

This explains why, when we trust God to keep us on a certain thing, we have yet made mistakes and blunders in relation to it. These facts have perplexed logical minds, but they can be explained. God’s children are not careful to examine the ground upon which they may expect God to keep them. Again, God will not "keep" you without your watching. You must watch, and ask Him for vision and power and knowledge to recognise the attacks of the enemy on you, so that you may work with God in the keeping, i.e. "He that is begotten of God keepeth himself, that the wicked one toucheth him not" (I John v.). He "keeps himself" by watching, by resisting the adversary, by giving him no "advantage" by admitting an unforgiving spirit; by knowing his devices, so as not to yield to them unawares. As he does his part, God does His, and keeps him by giving him the power of the Holy Spirit for all he has to do.

If you as a "spiritual" man, will recognize the existence of the powers of darkness always round about you, because you are in a spiritual realm, then in much that comes to you in ordinary life you will recognize one degree to be "natural" causes, and possibly ninety-nine degrees supernatural. Take, for instance, that "tired feeling" which comes upon you unaccountably, and when you "rest" you are no better for it, for you find you become heavier, and you say, "I did not know how tired I was." You need to test this, and not yield to it. You were "tired" it is true, but you let your spirit go down, too, into passivity, with the result that the adversary gained his aim to stop the work, or sidetrack you out of some vital service which he feared. You will quickly grow suspicious of everything when you discover the devices of the foe, and you will reason this way: "I do not know what the enemy has to do with this, but I resist him in any plan he has, and refuse to let him have anything from me." And thus you watch, watch, and watch, and all the time maintain an attitude of "watching" and resisting [refusing], praying continually to the Lord for light upon your path, and upon the foe, and throwing things off you which once you yielded to so quickly, so that there comes increasingly into your spirit buoyant victory.

What joy now comes into the life, as you see the way of victory over everything touching you, in your circumference of mind and body. Calm in the central union with Christ, you quietly say "I refuse all ground to evil spirits in mind and body, and I take back from them all I ever gave them by mistake, or through ignorance, and give it all to the Lord Jesus Christ." Then will come a quickening of your memory, and every faculty of mind, or body, liberated for God’s use.

It is growing upon me, that this light upon the way the powers of darkness have fettered and dulled the minds, and bodies of God’s children, will be a mighty factor in the preparation of the Body of Christ for translation. The "earnest of the spirit" is certainly for mind and body (2 Cor. v. 4, 5), but if the adversary is holding much ground unknowingly, how can God’s people receive it? It is easy to see now why we have a paralyzed and feeble church, for it has been gripped by the powers of darkness.


Now finally, as to the keeping of the position in the spirit where these things can become true, and where you will have your spirit perpetually in victory. As you walk in victory resisting the devil in his attacks on soul and body, you will find the "wrestling" in spirit, which Paul speaks of in Ephes. vi. 12, become your experience. The enemy will attack your spirit, so that you may lose your centre position of victory, where you detect, and resist his onslaughts on your circumference. For instance, you must understand that if a weight comes on your spirit you lose all buoyancy, and when the weight goes off it there is spring. The first "weight" on the spirit should be dealt with in a moment. Pray that you may be able to recognise quickly, and take the victory at once, so that you may get free quickly. Practise taking "weights" to the Lord immediately. When the spirit is in triumph, the work looks so easy, but once there comes the weight, then the spirit goes down, and how dark everything looks, the work is heavy, the "bogies" are many, and at times, like Elijah, you feel you are going to die! It is when your spirit is in victory, that you have "authority" and "power over all the power of the enemy." The Holy Spirit is the "dunamis" that conquers him, but the Holy Spirit can only manifest this power through a LIBERATED SPIRIT. A "weight" on the spirit crushes it, and prevents the heavenly dunamis going out against the enemy. He knows this, so he attacks your spirit. There follows a tussle; and he says "you must go under," and you say "No, I will not go under, I stand in Christ." He says "You shall go in to yourself," and you say "I won’t go in." So the "wrestle" goes on, until at last he flees—put to flight by the Spirit of God, and your co-operation with Him in your attitude of will. When your spirit is thus triumphant, you possess clear vision and perception; but when your spirit is shadowed, the mind is dull, and then the deceiving spirits can decoy you out of the path of God’s will. The spirit must be kept pure, and clear, and full of light; and then you see so simply the path the Lord would have you walk in.

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