Collected Works of Watchman Nee, The (Set 2) Vol. 24: The Overcoming Life, by Watchman Nee


One sister had the same problem as Mrs. Lee. She said that she believed but could not overcome. I told her that we need faith that moves the mountain. A faith that fails at the slightest test is not faith at all. What is a great faith? What is a mountain-moving faith? A strong faith is faith that moves the mountain. A faith that moves the mountain cannot be hindered by any obstacles. Wherever faith is, problems have to flee. This is the faith that moves the mountain. A mountain and faith cannot coexist. Either the mountain has to go, or faith has to go. If the mountain remains, faith has to go. If faith remains, the mountain has to go. Every test is an occasion to move the mountain. The question is not whether there is a test. What is at stake is the fact that when the mountain remains, faith must go, and when faith remains, the mountain must go. The question is whether we will listen to the words of the outsiders or the word of God. Anything that crumbles in the face of a test is not faith.

One brother has apparently made some breakthrough in this matter, but he has not realized yet what victory is. Satan tells him, "See, you think you have overcome, but you are still defeated. You have been cheated. There is no such thing as victory." Brothers and sisters, if you concede that you have been cheated, everything is surely over. God accomplishes everything according to what you believe.

I remember one time when I was sick and lying on my bed upstairs. A brother came and took my temperature and pulse. My temperature was high and my pulse was fast. A few nights prior to his visit I had been unable to sleep; it seemed as if I was at the gate of death. That evening I prayed, and the next afternoon I received a word from the Lord. He had heard my prayer and gave me Romans 8:11, which says, "And if the Spirit of the One who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who indwells you." I thought that I needed a good rest that day, but contrary to my wish, I was exceptionally restless. When the brother took my temperature again, it had gone up and my pulse was even faster. Satan was busy at work. He wasted no time in coming to me to say, "What kind of promise is that? God promised that you would live, but obviously you are not living." Satan’s word seemed very plausible. Right then the Lord gave me two verses. The first was Jonah 2:8, which says, "Those who regard empty vanities/Forsake the lovingkindness to them." Jonah uttered this word while he was in the belly of the fish. All outward circumstances and conditions are vanities. The second verse was John 17:17, which says, "Your word is truth." God says that His word is truth and everything else is vanity. If God’s word is true, my temperature had to be false, my pulse had to be false, and my insomnia had to be false. Hence, I immediately thanked the Lord, saying, "Romans 8:11 is true, and all these symptoms of sickness are false." This was what I believed, and this was what I declared. By the afternoon, my temperature was gone, and my pulse came down. By the evening, I was able to sleep once more.


Brothers and sisters, this is the test of faith. What is true faith? True faith is one which believes only in God’s Word and not in one’s own experience, feeling, or the dark environment. Hallelujah! Only God’s Word is true! If the environment and experience match God’s Word, we thank and praise Him! If the environment and experience do not match God’s Word, it is God’s Word that stands. Anything that contradicts God’s Word is false. Satan may say, "You say that you have overcome, but look, you are still as corrupt as before. You are still as weak as before. What made you say that you have overcome?" You can say to Satan, "It is true that I am still the same; I can never change. However, God says that Christ is my holiness, my life, and my victory." Satan will say that you are still corrupt, weak, and unclean. But God’s Word is true. Satan’s words are lies. Only God’s Word is true!

In Chefoo I learned a lesson. One day Miss Fischbacher and I were praying for definite gifts from God. I was praying for the gift of faith, while she was praying for the gift of healing. After we prayed for a quarter of an hour, both of us received the gifts. In the evening we went to the meeting, and Sister An told me that another sister living downstairs in the meeting place was going out of her mind. This sister used to have a breakdown once or twice a month. But recently she broke down more frequently. After the meeting it was 10:30 p.m., and I went home. On my way home, I thought about what would happen if the sister had another breakdown right then, being alone downstairs in the meeting place. After I said good-by to the brothers, God’s Word in 1 Peter 1:7 came to me. "The proving of your faith, much more precious than of gold which perishes though it is proved by fire." I said to myself, "So be it. If faith needs to be tested, let it be tested." The next day I invited Miss Fischbacher to come with me to see the sick sister. Of course, I could have gone alone, but Miss Fischbacher had just received the gift of healing, and I had received the gift of faith. Why should we not apply them now? When Miss Fischbacher got my invitation, she was somewhat hesitant. She said she would pray first. After she prayed, she decided to come. When we arrived, we found that the patient had fallen asleep a little earlier. Brother Shi, who was a doctor, said that we should wait until she woke up. He told us that humanly speaking, there was nothing that could be done. Miss Fischbacher had to leave for her boat at 11:30 a.m. We waited there until 10:50 a.m. before someone asked us to go in. I spoke a few words to the sick sister. Her hair was standing on end. This is what people look like when they have gone insane. But thank and praise the Lord! I prayed for a minute or two, and the Lord gave me faith. My faith rose up in me, and I began to praise the Lord! I knew that she was going to be healed. After Miss Fischbacher prayed, she also had faith and began to praise the Lord. Then two brothers and a sister also prayed a few words, but they were not in the flow of the Spirit as much as we were. Then the time came, and I had to take Miss Fischbacher to her boat. By the time I came back from the pier, the sister was crying, laughing, and shouting again. After several minutes, she passed out. The people could not do anything. I knew then that their faith was being tested. The doctor took me aside and said, "Brother, pray for her immediately. I can do nothing as a doctor for her." I told him that there was no need to pray. I laughed and said, "Satan, you can try again. You can try as much as you want." The sister was out of her mind, and I acted like I was out of my mind also. She was shouting inside the house, and I was shouting outside the house. She went on until 3:30 p.m., and I went on until 3:30 p.m. At the end, my faith came. At 4:00 p.m. I had another meeting and had to go. I told Dr. Shi that he should not disturb her or try to do anything; he should just let Satan do all he could. When God says something, it is done. He never plays tricks on us. In the evening Dr. Shi came and told me that the sister was getting well. The next morning he told me that she had become normal. I knew that she would still act up because a few other brothers needed to be tested in their faith as well. The sick sister was well for at most an hour at a time and really well for only about half an hour at a time. In the afternoon, she acted up again, and Dr. Shi came and asked what he should do. I knelt down to pray, but no word came to me. It seemed as if my faith could not rise up. At that time, Satan immediately came and said, "Try to laugh again. Yesterday you laughed so much. Why not try laughing again today." By then it seemed as if my faith was gone. Satan was at my side, saying, "You could laugh yesterday, but now you are so cold." But thank and praise the Lord! A voice within me said, "Your feeling may have changed. Yesterday you could laugh, today you are cold, but I have not changed." I answered, "Yes, the Lord has not changed," and I began to immediately thank and praise the Lord, saying, "Lord, You have not changed." The day before I believed God’s Word. My laughter did not make God more trustworthy, just as my cold feeling and the absence of laughter on this day did not make God any less trustworthy. I only praised the Lord and did not pray any further. In the evening, Dr. Shi told me that the sister was completely recovered from her sickness as far as her physical symptoms were concerned. The next day, her composure came back. Hallelujah! God’s Word is trustworthy! This is the proving of faith.

Brothers and sisters, we want to see results immediately after we believe. We want to have the experience immediately after we believe. But brothers and sisters, can we not persist in faith in God for three days or for three months? If we cannot persist in faith in God for three days or for three months, where is our faith? I have said this once, and I will say this again: "He who believes will not hasten away" (Isa. 28:16).

One day the Lord told the disciples to cross over to the other side. Suddenly a storm came, and the waves were beating against the boat. The boat was about to be filled with water. The Lord Jesus was at the stern of the boat, sleeping on a cushion. When the disciples woke Him up, they said, "Teacher, does it not matter to You that we are perishing?" The Lord woke up and rebuked the wind and the waves. After that, what did He say? Mark 4:40 says, "How is it that you do not have faith?" Matthew says, "You of little faith" (8:26). Many desperate prayers are but a sign of unbelief. If there is faith, one can stand fast. The Lord told us to cross to the other side. He did not tell us to go to the bottom of the sea. He has commanded, and it does not matter whether the wind is fierce or the waves are tempestuous. Look and see whether the boat will sink or not. If there is not faith, one will run away when the test comes. But if there is faith, one can still stand fast when the test comes. A small faith will run away at the sight of tests, but a great faith will stand fast in the face of tests. A false faith will fall at the sight of tests, but a genuine faith will stand fast in the face of tests.


A person once angrily rebuked me. The more I endured his rebukes, the more he continued. At that time I prayed to the Lord, saying, "God, give me endurance. Give me the strength to endure. Otherwise, my temper will burst." If the same thing happened to me now, I would not be that anxious. On the contrary, I would say to Satan jokingly, "Satan, you can revile me through the mouth of men. Let’s see if the Christ within me can be stirred up by your reviling." I do not hate the revilers. On the contrary, I love them. Indeed, if we act this way, Satan will be unable to do anything against us. Brothers and sisters, thank and praise the Lord. Victory is Christ, not us. If it were up to us, we could only endure to a certain extent. If the reviling went slightly beyond that point, we would lose our temper. But if it is Christ, no temptation will be too much for us, and no test will be too hard to bear. When we stand on the side of God’s Word and on the side of faith, Satan can do nothing to us. The Lord has commanded that we cross over to the other side. Surely we will cross over to the other side. It is not our word that counts, but God’s Word that counts, because God is faithful.

Finally brothers and sisters, I have to ask you a question: Are there one or two recurring sins that have been bothering you? I believe there are. Brothers and sisters, when the indwelling Christ is leading us through the test, who is actually being tested? Every time a test comes to us, it is not we who are tested but God who is tested. When our faith is tested, the Son of God is tested. God’s faithfulness is tested; we are not tested. Every test is a test to see what Christ can do. Every test is a test of God’s faithfulness. Faith is standing on God’s side, on His Word’s side, and on the opposite side of our environment. This is overcoming. Satan says that we are unclean, but we say that Christ is our holiness. Satan says that we are proud, but we say that Christ is our humility. Satan says that we have failed, but we say that Christ is our victory. We can answer whatever Satan says by proclaiming that Christ is trustworthy and that His Word is trustworthy. This is faith, and this is the substantiation of God’s Word. Hallelujah! Christ is victorious! Hallelujah! God is faithful! Hallelujah! His Word is trustworthy!

Brothers and sisters, please remember that the test of faith will not last long. Immediately after we have experienced the overcoming life, temptation may come more frequently than ever. But after our faith is tested, others will receive the benefit and the help. After our faith is tested, God’s heart will be satisfied, and His name will be glorified. Satan’s mouth will be stopped, and he will not be able to do anything to us. Hallelujah, God’s Word is trustworthy! Thank and praise the Lord! When we stand with God, nothing can stand in our way. When we stand with faith, no mountain is immovable. Faith specializes in moving mountains. As long as it is a mountain, faith can remove it. Hallelujah, God is faithful!

(Collected Works of Watchman Nee, The (Set 2) Vol. 24: The Overcoming Life, Chapter 9, by Watchman Nee)