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


Why are the believers’ minds so attacked by evil spirits? One answer is that the believers themselves afford evil spirits (also called demons) an opportunity to attack in their minds. We should realize that it is possible for the believers’ minds to suffer the demons’ attacks. This is proven by the experiences of many believers. The place the demons most often attack is the mind because the mind and evil spirits have a special rapport. The attacks of evil spirits on the believers’ minds produce the aforementioned phenomena. Parts or the whole of man’s mind have already isolated themselves from man’s sovereign rule and fallen into the hands of evil spirits. As a result, evil spirits are able to think and stop as they wish and ignore the believers’ own will. Although the mind still resides in the body, its sovereignty belongs to someone else. Even though the believers may oppose it, nothing will avail. In whatever aspect the believers give place to evil spirits, that aspect will not thereafter obey man’s own will. Instead, it will obey another will. When the believers give any ground in their minds to evil spirits, they have lost their sovereignty over their own minds. To put it in another way, if the mind of a believer has lost its sovereignty and is no longer able to rule over itself, the mind is already occupied by evil spirits. If evil spirits have not attacked the believer’s mind, his will should be able to rule over everything; he can think when he wants to think and stop when he wants to stop. He will not encounter any difficulty.

The minds of the believers are attacked by evil spirits because the believers have given place to evil spirits in their minds. Believers are prone to give more place in the mind to evil spirits because the mind is related to evil spirits in such a special way. These places become leverage in the believers’ minds upon which evil spirits freely work. We should remember that man’s mind is of man; if evil spirits do not have man’s consent, they cannot use his mind. If man does not volunteer—intentionally or unintentionally—to hand over the mind to evil spirits, they cannot infringe on man’s freedom. This does not mean that evil spirits will never tempt us in the mind (such will not happen in this life). But it means that when we exercise our will to oppose them, they will immediately stop. The problem today is that even though many believers exercise their own will to resist, temptations still do not stop. This should not happen; it is a proof of the work of evil spirits because it is done in disregard of man’s will.

After a believer has indeed yielded to evil spirits, his mind will inevitably be filled with the works of evil spirits. Evil spirits will work on him according to the ground he has given them. Since he has given ground to evil spirits in his mind, they can do whatever they want in his mind. The most important principle in the work of evil spirits is that one has to give ground for them to work. They can only work when they have the ground. Without the ground, they have no way to work. The amount of their work is determined by the amount of ground they receive. Whenever believers give ground in their minds to evil spirits, the evil spirits will work in the believers’ minds. There are six kinds of ground that believers can give to evil spirits. Let us consider each one of them briefly.

A. The Unrenewed Mind

The flesh is always the place where evil spirits work. If the mind is not renewed, even if a person is regenerated in his spirit, evil spirits will still have a chance to work. Even though the minds of many believers were turned for a moment at the time of their repentance, it does not mean that their eyes, which have been blinded by Satan, were completely enlightened. Perhaps many areas are still "veiled." Because these dark places were the working ground for evil spirits in past days, the fact that they are diminished today does not mean that they are altogether annihilated. Evil spirits still occupy these areas, from which they also direct their operations. It is very common to see evil spirits occupying the minds of men through sin. This happens before they are saved or even after they are saved. Even though some changes have taken place, the old ground has not been uncovered or removed. Therefore, evil spirits still occupy them as their base of operations.

Evil spirits are very careful in covering up their works. If a believer is fleshly, they will generate many thoughts through his mind which are similar to his character and condition. They will make him believe that these are his own thoughts and that they are natural. If such a person is seeking for the baptism of the Holy Spirit, they will counterfeit the work of the Holy Spirit and give him many supernatural revelations, convincing him that these are from God. Because evil spirits know that this kind of unrenewed mind is the best ground for their work, they obstruct the believer in many ways, causing him to become ignorant and not pursue the renewing of his mind. This is the most frequent ground given to evil spirits. But if there is only this kind of ground given, without the passivity spoken of below, the mind and memory will still not be weakened too severely.

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