THE NOUS AFTER IT IS RENEWED
Originally, the nous of many people is like a kitchen window that is covered with grease. After the nous is renewed, it is like a clean glass window which allows sunlight to come through. A person with a renewed nous will become more and more clear and will understand God’s demand more and more. His nous will become very sharp and quick, and he will become very clear concerning God’s requirement. Many Christians do not understand God’s will because they do not have the proper receiving organ. They can only infer, guess, and presume; they cannot understand God’s will. But if the nous is renewed, this organ will enable a person to know God’s will more and more clearly.
Romans 14:5 reads, "One judges one day above another; another judges every day alike. Let each by fully persuaded in his own mind." The "mind" in this verse is the nous. Paul says that one man esteems one day above another, and another thinks that all days are the same. By what should we judge what is right and what is wrong? It is judged by our own nous. We can judge clearly by our nous. If there is a question of God’s will, it can be decided clearly by the nous.
2. Understanding the Bible
Luke 24:45 reads, "Then He opened their mind to understand the Scriptures." The "mind" here is nous in the original text. The Lord Jesus opened their nous. Why did He do this? He did this in order that they would understand the Scriptures. Please remember that the Lord Jesus has to open our nous before we can understand the Scriptures. When the nous is opened, the result is the understanding of the Scriptures. Every time you read the Bible, you have to tell God, "I humble myself before You like a child. I do not know or understand the meaning of this passage of the Scriptures. Please grant me the light." God will grant you the understanding or the possession of His truth, though not necessarily at the moment you are reading. Sometimes your nous is opened, and you understand the truth while you are walking, working, going to bed, or getting up. Once God opens you, you will become more and more systematic. According to my own experience as well as that of others, God never gives an incomplete truth to man. At the beginning, when we read the Bible, we may only get pieces; but later on, we will understand the whole truth from God. For instance, I know a man in the Lord who was caught by the truth concerning authority for four or five months. God continually showed him everything in the Bible concerning the truth of authority. Nevertheless, he also received other things as well in his daily morning watch.
Once someone asked me, "Is it necessary for one to prepare before he preaches?" I said, "On one hand, there is no need to prepare. On the other hand, one has to prepare every day." We should receive from God daily. All the time, we should receive the truth God reveals to us in our nous. Following a long period or sometimes even a short period of time, we will know and understand the whole truth. A message does not come merely with two hours of preparation. This kind of preparation is useless. Many spiritual persons yearly receive from God clear, systematic, and great truths. God shows them truths in their nous and sustains them with these truths. At the same time, He enables them to bring these truths to others to help and sustain them with these truths.
CONTROLLING THE MIND
Concerning the process of renewing, we need to do our job, and God will do His job. The renewing may be resolved all at once; it may also not be resolved all at once, but rather grow like an infant. The most important thing is that a renewed mind is under a person’s own control; he can stop when he wants to stop, and he can think when he wants to think. One should be able to control himself in a spontaneous way. After the mind is renewed, one should not allow outside thoughts to control him. If he does, his mind will become sick. This does not mean that one should analyze his thoughts. If he analyzes, it will be a great suffering to his mind. This control should be exercised very spontaneously, as spontaneously as the opening and closing of the eyelids. There is no need to think or command; the eyelids open and close spontaneously. Concerning controlling our thoughts, in the beginning we may have to exert some effort. But after a while, we will no longer need to exert any more effort; the control will come spontaneously. We should control our thoughts. However, this should be done most spontaneously and naturally. There is no need to analyze or become introspective. If we do, we will suffer and come into danger. This is something to which we should pay attention.
(Collected Works of Watchman Nee, The (Set 1) Vol. 10: The Present Testimony (3), Chapter 18, by Watchman Nee)