The Holy Spirit and Reality, by Watchman Nee


There are always reasons for Christians to be obsessed. We must now find a few basic reasons for obsession from the Bible.

Love of Darkness

One great reason for obsession is the fact that men love darkness and do not love light. When a man does not prefer light but prefers darkness, there is bias in his heart, and it becomes easy for him to be obsessed. A man may try at first to avoid difficulties, troubles, and the light by saying that he is right. But in the end, he begins to believe that he is right and good, and he becomes obsessed. The Israelites rejected the Lord Jesus because they loved the darkness rather than the light (John 3:19). They did not have the light, and they dwelt in darkness. Therefore, they considered it justified to reject and hate the Lord Jesus. The Lord said, “If I did not do among them the works which no one else has done, they would not have sin; but now they have both seen and hated both Me and My Father” (15:24). This is because they were obsessed. They hated the Lord Jesus without cause (v. 25). We must realize that wherever there is darkness and wherever there is a lack of light, there is a wrong view, wrong confidence, wrong self-trust, and wrong judgment. Everything that is wrong has the element of obsession in it. The result of not loving the light is obsession.


Pride is another great reason for obsession. Obadiah 3 says, “The arrogance of your heart has beguiled you.” This shows us that another reason for self-deception is pride. Those who are self-deceived to the point of obsession are probably proud ones. A Christian may start out with the intention of gaining vainglory and position before men, and then may begin to pretend and deceive others. Gradually, he begins to deceive himself, and he becomes obsessed in the end. Once a Christian becomes proud, it is easy for him to fantasize that he has something, that he possesses something, and gradually he will regard his fantasy as reality; the result is obsession. Brothers and sisters, do not think that pride is a small sin. Pride can easily lead to obsession. This is why we have to learn to be humble.

Not Receiving the Love of the Truth

Another great reason for obsession is not receiving the love of the truth. Second Thessalonians 2:10-11 tells us that God sends to those who “did not receive the love of the truth…an operation of error that they might believe the lie.” This is a terrible end. When a man believes in lies, the result is obsession. To believe in lies is to believe that there is something when there is actually nothing. When a man does not receive the love of the truth, surely he believes in lies, and when he believes in lies, he is obsessed.

Proverbs 23:23 says, “Buy the truth, and sell it not; / also wisdom, and instruction, and understanding.” Truth is something that we have to buy, something that requires a price. We would be blessed if our hearts were ready to love and receive only God’s truth at any price. But men often do not have a heart to receive the love of the truth. On the contrary, they twist the truth and annul the truth; they hope that this and that are not the truth. They end up believing that this and that are not the truth. They make the truth untruth and the untruth truth, and they appear to be very confident about it. This is being obsessed. We must realize that if a man does not receive the love of the truth once, it will be difficult for him to see the truth later.

A brother who studied in a seminary once went to a theological professor to ask about the matter of baptism. The brother said, “I saw before the Lord that I have been crucified with Christ, that I have died, and that I should be buried. Therefore, I ought to be baptized. What would you say?” The professor said, “I had a similar experience when I was in the seminary. I was about to graduate, and I saw that I was dead and that I ought to be buried and baptized. But if I had been baptized, I would no longer have been able to work in my denomination. I prayed and felt that I would wait until I graduated and was a pastor. Many years have passed since I graduated and became a pastor. I am still not baptized, and everything still seems okay. You should concentrate on your study. After you graduate, you will be a pastor and such questions will not bother you anymore.” Disobeying the truth and thinking that one can live in peace is obsession. Fortunately, the brother did not follow the professor’s advice. Brothers and sisters, when our hearts are not absolute, it will be easy for us to be obsessed.

Not Seeking the Glory That Is from the Only God

Another reason for obsession is not seeking the glory that is from the only God. The Lord Jesus said, “How can you believe when you receive glory from one another and do not seek the glory that is from the only God?” (John 5:44). This shows us that the Israelites rejected the Lord and lost eternal life by seeking for another kind of glory. How pitiful this is! The Israelites’ lust for glory turned their hearts towards lies. As a result they believed the lies, began to think highly of themselves, and were obsessed.

(The Holy Spirit and Reality, Chapter 2, by Watchman Nee)