The Spiritual Man, CFP, Vol. 3, Part 8 THE ANALYSIS OF THE SOUL-THE MIND, Ch. 3, by Watchman Nee
WHEN ONE'S MIND HAS fallen victim to the phenomena discussed in the previous chapter, he should seek the way of deliverance. What was described in that chapter were but general symptoms of a passive mind. We cannot set forth everyone’s condition in detail because there are variations in the degree of passivity, the extent of the evil spirit’s attack, and hence the measure of damage to the mind. Nevertheless it should be stated that as soon as one realizes he has encountered any of the aforementioned phenomena, he must exercise extreme caution because he may have given ground to evil spirits and so is being assaulted. He should look for deliverance.
Few are the believers who are not surprised at their ignorance of the damage done to their mind. It is on the contrary a matter of great surprise to them that they have been unconscious of the fallen condition of their organ of thought. They seem to understand a lot about many matters, but in regard to their own mind they know next to nothing. They do not even realize how serious has been the damage inflicted until someone else has pointed it out to them. Why have these not discerned it before? Is it not that this very lack tells us that our mind and the evil spirits possess some special relationship which consequentially weakens our knowledge concerning our mind? Let any who have suffered such damage answer this question.
If his eyes have been opened to see his condition, the believer will naturally search for deliverance. Realize, though, that the evil spirits are not going to let their captives go free without a fight. They will apply every ounce of strength upon the person to prevent him from securing deliverance.
The evil spirits will suggest many lies to serve as excuses:
Those sudden beautiful thoughts of yours are from God.
Those flashing revelations are the fruits of spirituality.
That bad memory is due to your ill-health.
It is natural for you to become abruptly forgetful.
Your over-sensitiveness is because of your temperament.
Your weak memory is inherited.
Insomnia is an outgrowth of sickness. You are simply tired.
You cannot think because you have worked too hard.
That incessant contemplation at night stems from your mind’s overexhaustion in the daytime.
Impure thoughts arise from your sins.
You already have fallen.
You cannot listen to others because of your particular environment and because of their faults.
The evil spirits can manufacture sundry other excuses. Unless God’s children realize they are really being attacked and have actually fallen from the normal state, the enemy will engage these and other excuses like them to cover up the ground they have gained. But the true reason lies in the fact that the mind is passive and vacuous, and thus occupied by these satanic spirits. Every one of these phenomena is the effect of their pernicious working. We grant the possibility of natural causes being mixed in with these excuses, but the experience of so many saints confirms that the powers of darkness are extremely subtle in operating alongside natural causes so as to deceive the saints into accepting these natural causes—such as temperament, physical condition and environment—as the only explanation, forgetting altogether the subtle mixing in by the evil spirits. The latter are very delighted in hiding their works behind some little natural cause. There is one test which can be brought to bear here, however; and that is, that if the cause is natural the man’s condition will be restored to normal once the natural factor is eliminated: but were there something supernatural added to the natural, then the man will not recover even though the natural element is removed. If you have insomnia, for example, the enemy will suggest it is due to your overwork and your mind’s overexhaustion. You listen to this and cease working and rest for a period without exercising your mind at all. Nonetheless thousands of thoughts continue to crowd your mind and pass to and fro through your brain during sleep. This demonstrates that your illness is not entirely due to natural cause: a supernatural one is mingled in with it somewhere. If you do not take the time to deal with the supernatural aspect, your removal of the natural element will serve no purpose.
It is of paramount importance that brethren today examine the source of these excuses. The wicked powers are highly skilled in misleading people into explaining their evil devices in terms of natural phenomena. They goad them into imagining they themselves are wrong. These individuals thus unconsciously cover up the perpetrations of the evil spirits. Consequently whatever excuse comes into his head the Christian must examine it carefully. Every reason must be scrutinized and every symptom of the mind must be traced. Otherwise, in his mistaking supernatural work to be natural he will cede increased ground to the enemy. Every opinion he entertains about himself needs to be proven, lest he yield new territory to the evil spirits even before the old is recovered.
Because of his long capitulation a person may easily commit the fatal error of defending the malevolent operations of the evil spirits. This must be guarded against, for in so doing he assists them in veiling the true cause of their attack. Although he is in distress, nevertheless he is siding with the evil spirits in preserving their ground.
The devil’s hosts at this juncture are inciting the believer’s flesh to cooperate with them. Actually the flesh always works together with the devil. For the sake of saving face or for some other reason, the Christian refuses to believe his mind could possibly be occupied by the devil and objects to hearing anything about him or his works. Such distaste of examination for fear that he may lose his “spiritual experience” is a great hindrance to deliverance. He may retort in any one of a number of ways: “I don’t need deliverance, why should I want to be delivered?” or “I have overcome through Christ; He has overcome Satan already, so now I need pay no attention to him but just leave him to God. I focus my attention on Christ.” or “I know nothing about satanic matters.” or “I concentrate on preaching the gospel, why should I notice Satan?” With these or many other responses the believer dismisses the actions of the evil spirits in him. And to those who try to help him he may even say: “All right, you resist for me and pray for me.” He is not speaking with sincerity; he merely desires to live in ease and let others sweat out deliverance for him.
Yet in all this, it should be asked why anyone should object to hearing about Satan and his works? Can it be that his mind has in fact been worked on by Satan and hence is apprehensive about facing the situation once it might be exposed? The truth is that he is familiar with too many things already concerning the devil and does not care to know any thing more. Yet the gospel of Jesus Christ saves people not only from sin but from the devil as well. Why then be afraid if the devil be mentioned when the gospel is preached? Is it not similar to the person who has committed a certain crime and is afraid to have anyone mention that particular crime? Due to his preoccupation with the devil the believer resents people mentioning him. Deep down in his heart he harbors a fear lest his true condition should be revealed. Supposing I am indeed invaded by evil spirits, he gravely muses, then what in the world can I possibly do about it now? Thus he speaks to others as we have indicated above both to cover up and to comfort himself.
But should a believer receive and accept the light and begin to look for freedom, the evil spirits will commence to pour into his mind loads of accusations which charge him with all sorts of errors and which condemn and reprimand him in such a fury that he is left with no energy to recover his lost ground. They know he has obtained light and that they can no longer deceive him. They therefore change their tactics to a ceaseless chain of accusations: “You are wrong, you are wrong.” During this time the believer, because there is no help in view, feels like sinking into a pit of sin. But if he could recognize this as simply Satan’s lie he would rise up and resist. He shall overcome.
Experience teaches us that directly after one apprehends the truth of his having lost the sovereignty over his mind and accordingly begins to seek to regain it, he shall suffer many times over that of previous days. The evil spirits will attempt one final struggle for him. They will employ their customary lying tactic by hinting to him that he cannot possibly regain his freedom since he has sunk too deeply into passivity or that God is not disposed to grant him grace again or that he will fare better if he does not resist or that in any case he can never see the day of deliverance so why bother to strive and suffer anyway. Every child of God ought to know, however, that he should not live by satanic grace. He must have liberty even should he die retrieving it. No one can have fallen into passivity to such an extent that he is beyond deliverance. God is for him and he shall be set free.
Once knowing the truth and acknowledging that his mind has never been released or only partially released from the power, of darkness, the child of God naturally will rise up to do battle against the evil spirits in order that their stronghold in him may be overthrown. Then and there he learns that the weapons of war must be spiritual, for fleshly ones avail him nothing. He cannot free himself by making resolutions or by adopting measures to improve his memory or thinking. His mind is captive to supernatural powers that cannot be cast out or destroyed by carnal devices. The believer never dreams that the powers of darkness could have so profoundly usurped his head until he learns the truth for himself and prepares to retrieve the lost territory which these wicked powers will accordingly be stirred to defend. The child of God thus comes to see how dark, dull, passive, and out of control his head truly is. The devil will use every means to torture his mind, threatening him not to take any action to recover the lost territory. This convinces the believer more than ever that his mental life is definitely a stronghold of the enemy and that he has not had complete control over it. He perceives how the enemy attempts to prevent it from understanding truths he desires to learn, for he is able to remember non-essential matters but is totally powerless to comprehend or recall the vital ones. He senses that there is an opposing force in his head which is against the truth to which he already has given consent.
Now begins the war for liberation of the mind. Is the Christian content to remain the stronghold of the evil spirits? If not, then who must solve the problem? God? No, it is man himself. He must choose whether to offer himself wholly to God or allow his thinking apparatus to remain a concession of Satan’s. Will the powers of darkness be permitted to utilize his mind? Are they going to be permitted to pour forth their perverted thoughts through the mind of the saved? Will they be allowed to fill his head with the fire from hell? Can they propagate at will their teachings through his mind? Is it henceforth going to be possible for them to resist God’s truth by manipulating him in his intellect? Can they harm and torment him via the mind? The Christian himself must decide the issue. Is he willing to be a permanent puppet of the evil spirits? He must make the choice, else there can be no possibility of deliverance. To be sure, any decision for God does not then signify he has already overcome. It only indicates whether he is really opposing the attack of the enemy.
We will recall that because the believer has given ground to the evil spirits, they have been able to operate on his mind. Earlier we had grouped this lost ground under six headings; now we shall reduce them to three main types: (1) an unrenewed mind, (2) acceptance of the evil spirits lies, and (3) passivity. The believer should examine himself carefully to find out which of the three grounds he has furnished to the evil spirits. Is it the unrenewed mind? or the passive mind? or the acceptance of the lie of the evil spirits? Or has he yielded on all three counts? Judging by the experience of Christians, a large number have supplied all three to the devil and his minions. Upon isolating the point or points by which he has ceded territory to the evil spirits, he must set out immediately to recover all the ground he has lost. This is his only salvation. Since he has degenerated into his present state through surrendering this or that foothold to the evil spirits, he will be free solely when these footholds are all regained. The unrenewed mind must be renewed; the lie accepted must be spotted and denied; and passivity must be turned into free action. We shall discuss them one by one.
God desires not only a change in the mind of His children at the time of conversion; He desires also a mind that is totally renewed, which is transparent as crystal. We find this commanded in the Word of God. The reason Satan can work is that the Christian has not been liberated entirely from a carnal mind. He may start out with a narrow mentality which cannot tolerate others or a darkened mentality that cannot comprehend deeper truth or a foolish mentality which cannot bear any important responsibility; and afterwards he slips into deeper sins. This is because “the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God” (Rom. 8.7). Once knowing the teaching of Romans 6 many Christians see themselves as having already been freed from their carnal mind. What they do not appreciate is that the cross must operate minutely in every area of the man. “Consider yourselves dead to sin” must be followed by “let not sin therefore reign in your mortal bodies” (Rom. 6.11-12). Following the change of mentality there must be the bringing of “every thought captive to obey Christ” (2 Cor. 10.5). The mind must be renewed completely, since any residue of its carnality is hostile to God.
For us to have our intellects renewed we must draw near to the cross. This is plainly called for in Ephesians 4. The Apostle Paul describes the darkness of man’s carnal mentality in verses 17 and 18; but in verses 22 and 23 he informs us how the mind can be renewed: “Put off your old nature which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful lusts, and be renewed in the spirit of your mind.” We know our old man has been crucified with the Lord already (Rom. 6.6). Here we are exhorted to “put off” so that our mind might be renewed. This brings the cross into view as the instrument for its renewal. A believer should understand that his old brain too is part of that old man which God wants us to put off entirely. The salvation which God imparts through the cross includes not only a new life but the renewal of every function of our soul as well. The salvation which is rooted deeply in our being must gradually be “worked out.” A serious lack among Christians today is in not perceiving the need for their minds to be saved (Eph. 6.17); they conceive salvation in general and somewhat vague terms. They fail to recognize that God desires to save them to the uttermost in that all their abilities are to be renewed and fit for His use. The mind is one of man’s natural endowments. God calls His own to believe that their old man was crucified on the cross; thereafter they need to accept single-mindedly God’s judgment towards the old man and exercise their will to resist or to put off its deeds including their old thoughts. They must come to the foot of the cross, willing to forsake their traditional mentalities and trusting God to give them a new mind. Brethren, the old one needs to be thoroughly put off. Yes, its renewal is God’s work, but the putting off—the denial, the forsaking—of your old organ of thought is what you must do. If you perform your part, God will fulfill His. And once you put off specifically, you should just as thoroughly believe that God will renew your mind, despite the fact you know not how.
How many of God’s children, although hitherto saved and possessed of a new life, still carry about them an old head. Nothing of their former theories, thought processes, or prejudices has been altered: only a Christian casing has been added. They use their old brain to search, to accept and to propagate spiritual truth. Is it any wonder they fall into countless errors and precipitate endless conflicts in the church? just as God is displeased with the wicked man who uses his own strength to do the Lord’s work, so He is displeased with the wicked man who uses his own mind to apprehend God’s truth. An unrenewed mentality is spiritually dead; hence everything which proceeds from it is likewise none other than dead. Many may boast in the depth of their Bible knowledge and in the excellency of their theological tenets, but those with spiritual discernment are aware that it is dead.
Upon recognizing the staleness of his mind and being willing to put it off by the cross, the Christian now should practice denying all carnal thoughts daily. The renewal will otherwise be impossible. For how can God ever succeed in His responsibility of renewing the believer’s mind if the latter still thinks according to the flesh?
Patiently and decisively must the Christian examine every one of his thoughts—but in the light of God. Whatever is not of Him or is contrary to His truth must be “squeezed” or “pressed” out of his head. Mere mental understanding of truth similarly must be rejected. Paul has mentioned how our unrenewed mind is filled with arguments and proud imaginations (2 Cor.10.5) . These prevent men from arriving at true knowledge of God. Christians must bring all these thoughts captive to obey Christ. The Apostle says “every thought”; consequently one must not allow so much as a single thought to escape such treatment. He should not rest until every idea is brought into subjection to Christ. The examination of his thought should determine whether (1) it comes from his old mind or (2) it emanates from the ground given away, and whether (3) it will yield new ground to the evil spirits or whether (4) it issues from a normal or renewed mind. He should inquire why his thinking is confused, prejudiced, rebellious, or infuriated—why he opposes certain truth before he even examines it—why he is against some Christians whom he has merely heard about (does he have sufficient warrant for so withstanding or does he detest them purely out of a natural mind?). During such a period of investigation every idea and imagination needs to be scrutinized so that those which arise from the old creation may be detected and discarded. To those who live out their days foolishly such a regimen no doubt appears to be unbearable. Being managed by the powers of darkness, their mind is loose and wild. But we must face the fact that a war is on. And unless we fight, how can we retake the fortresses of the enemy which are in the mind? The enemy is very real; how then can we be less vigilant?
As the saved one places himself beneath God’s light he will discover that often in the past he has accepted lies from the evil spirits which triggered his falling into that condition in which he now finds himself. Sometimes he adopted a wrong attitude or action due to misunderstanding God’s truth by believing in the enemy’s lie. For instance, by misunderstanding the relationship between God and man he inadvertently may believe that God dispenses His thought directly to him. So he passively waits and tarries and then accepts those registrations he assumes are from God. The evil spirits are thereby successful in their counterfeit and are able to supply him frequently with innumerable identical thoughts. Or, on another occasion, by appropriating what the enemy has suggested concerning his health or other matters directly involving him, he finds the conditions of his body and related affairs turn out to be exactly as he was told. The evil spirits, for example, may hint to the person’s mind that certain things will happen to him. If he does not resist or if he unquestioningly receives the suggestion, he will find before long that whatever the evil spirits have appointed invariably does come to him.
By exercising himself the child of God will uncover many vexations, weaknesses, sicknesses, and other similar phenomena in his life today to be due to his directly or indirectly having accepted lies planted in him in the past by evil spirits. They either are caused directly by believing in these lies or are induced indirectly after believing in them. To secure one’s freedom the Christian must experience God’s light which is God’s truth. Since he formerly lost ground by believing lies, he now must recover this ground by denying all lies. As light dispels darkness, so truth destroys lies. The saint must therefore seek to apprehend every truth concerning himself, God, and the evil spirits. He should pay a price to possess these truths. He should pray single heartedly for light that he may behold his precise condition (the truth) and thereby know where he has been deceived and has accordingly suffered. He next should scrutinize all his physical and environmental sufferings. Whence does each stem? What has provoked these troubles; was it through believing Satan’s lie or by adopting a wrong action through acceptance of any lie? He should trace the source and then quietly and prayerfully wait to be illuminated by God’s light.
The devil abhors light and truth because these remove the ground of his working. Each word of truth has to be fought for in the believer’s mind. The evil spirits try to keep from him the truth about their operations. They moreover attempt to disown the particular phenomenon which results from accepting a particular lie. Their operating principle is ever and anon “to keep them from seeing the light” (2 Cor. 4.4). A Christian must be very thorough in spotting the truth concerning all matters. Truth means at the very least the true condition. Even should he be helpless to drive away the enemy, his siding with the truth causes the latter to forfeit his ground. The believer at minimum can declare by his will that he wants the truth, that he wants to know and obey the truth. By prayer and by choice of will he ought to resist every satanic lie, whatever form it may take—a thought, an imagination or an argument. In so doing the Holy Spirit is afforded opportunity to lead his darkened mind into the light of God’s truth. In practical experience the believer sometimes may spend months before discerning one satanic lie. He first must resist in his will every ground of the evil spirits and afterwards overthrow one by one the lies which he formerly believed but now disbelieves. In this way he gradually will recover all the surrendered territory. He will not believe, not even in the slightest degree, what the evil spirits say. So shall they lose their power.
If one has plunged into all sorts of vexations due to passivity or believing the lie of the evil spirits, he urgently needs to determine what is normal for him. Except for the unrenewed mind, both passivity and assent to lies furnish such footholds to evil spirits that the Christian’s mental state will deteriorate steadily in every direction. His powers of thinking, of recall, of physical endurance, and so forth will all continually fail. If he realizes his danger he ought to rise up and seek liberation. But what should he regard as “liberation”? It is this: he needs to be restored to his original state. Hence it is essential for anyone who seeks restoration to determine what his original state was. Each person has his normal condition, that state he had before he fell through the deceit of the enemy. He must be made reaware of his normal state. Upon discovering he is not as he was before, he should ask himself such questions as: What was my former condition? How far am I today from it? How can I be restored to it?
Your former state is your normal state. The condition from which you fell is your measuring rod. Should you be ignorant of what is normal for you, you need to inquire of yourself on this wise: Was my mind born so confused or was there a time when I was not confused? Was my memory habitually so poor or was there a period when I could remember well? Was I usually so sleepless or did I once sleep well? Did I always have so many pictures passing before my eyes like movies on a screen or were there some clear moments? Have I always been weak or was there a time when I was stronger? Is it true I could never control myself or could I once manage myself much better? By answering these questions the person ought to be able to perceive whether he lacks his normal state, is under attack, or has grown passive. He in addition will be helped in delineating what his normal state is.
To define what his original condition was, a person must acknowledge and believe initially that he does have a normal state. Though he has fallen today, he nonetheless once experienced a better life. Precisely that is his normal state towards which he should aspire to be restored. Normalcy means nothing but one’s normal state. If he finds it difficult to decide what his normalcy is, then let him recall the best experience of his life when his spirit was strong, memory and thought clear, and body most healthy. Let him adopt that as his normalcy. It can afford him a minimum measure to which he ought to attain. He should not be content with any measurement less than that condition. And there is no reason why he should not be able to arrive at that state since he once was there. Yet even that is still not his highest possibility. Consequently he must at least regain his normalcy and refuse to ever again descend from it.
By comparing his present situation to that of his former days the Christian can determine how far he is now from what he once was. He whose mind is being assaulted can now see how weak his memory and thinking have become. And he whose body is being attacked can well appreciate how low his strength today is in comparison with his former strength. Upon realizing he has fallen from his normalcy he immediately should exercise his will to resist the present abnormal condition and strive to be restored to his normal state. Usually the evil spirits will withstand such attempted overthrowing of their strongholds. They will begin to suggest to the believer: You are now old, naturally you cannot expect to have as strong a mind as a youth; man’s ability deteriorates according to years. Or, if you are young, they will intimate: Due to an inborn deficiency you of course cannot, like the others, enjoy the blessing of an active mind for long. Or, they will hint to you that you sank into this condition because you worked too hard. They may even grow so bold as to tell you your present state is what you really are, that you are inferior to others because you received a lesser gift. The aim of the evil spirits is to mislead the child of God into believing the explanation for his weaknesses is natural, necessary and unsurprising. If God’s child neither is deceived nor is passive but is absolutely free, those words perhaps might be worthy of investigation; but should he be deceived and passive, those excuses are utterly unbelievable. He who has been redeemed to enjoy a better life than this poor condition should not allow the powers of darkness to hold him down in a lower state. He decisively should reject their lies.
One point should be noticed: a mind which is weakened through sickness is altogether different from one which is undermined by ceding ground to evil spirits. In the first case, man’s nervous system is damaged; in the second, the work of the enemy does not upset the constitution of the nerves but merely inhibits their proper functioning. If a man’s mind is not organically damaged but is only temporarily out of normal operation, he can be restored to his former state once the evil spirits are cast out. Many insane people have had their nervous system damaged through natural illness first before they are disturbed by the evil spirits; hence it is more difficult for them to be restored.
After determining what one’s normalcy is, the Christian’s next important step is to battle for recovery. We should not forget, however, that the adversary will try his best to retain the ground he has won exactly as earthly rulers jealously guard their territories. We cannot expect the powers of darkness to surrender their citadels without a struggle. Quite the reverse, they will fight to the very end.
Let us realize that, while it is most easy to cede any ground, it requires an enormous effort to recover it. Yet we should pay particular attention to this observation: that just as each nation has laws and their legal judgments must be absolutely obeyed, so in God’s universe there are spiritual laws whose legal judgments are so authoritative that even the devils cannot disobey. If we learn these spiritual laws and act on them the evil spirits will be forced to return what they have taken.
The most basic and consequential law of the spirit realm is that nothing pertaining to man can be accomplished without the consent of his will. It is through ignorance that a child of God accepted the deceit of the evil spirits and permitted them to work in his life. Now he must recover the relinquished territory; and to do so he must exercise his will to overturn his earlier consent by insisting that he is his own master and will not tolerate the enemy manipulating any segment of his being. In such a warfare as this the evil spirits cannot violate spiritual law; and hence they must retreat. At the beginning the believer’s mind was usurped by the wicked powers through its passivity; this in turn ushered in the passivity of the will. Now the believer should declare by God’s law that his mind belongs to him, that he is going to use it and will not permit any outside force to instigate, employ or control his mind. If he relentlessly retreats from passivity and exercises his mind, the latter gradually shall be liberated till it attains to its original state. (Later we shall have more to say on recovering the ground and its battle.)
In this conflict the child of God must exercise his mind. He must take the initiative in each action and not depend on anyone else. If possible he must make his own decision, not waiting passively for other people or for more conducive environment. He must not glance back at the past nor worry concerning the future but learn to live just for this moment. Prayerfully and watchfully must he proceed step by step. He must exercise his mind and think: think what he should do, speak, or become. He must throw away every crutch, not allowing any worldly element or means to be substituted for the ability of the mind. He must use it to think, reason, remember and comprehend.
Because the individual’s mental life has been protractedly passive, the battle for freedom likewise requires a protracted period. Let him understand that before he regains his liberty many of his thoughts will not be conceived by him but rather will be inspired by evil spirits who usurp his mind. For this reason he must scrutinize every notion lest he unconsciously furnish new ground to the evil spirits before the old is wholly recovered. During this period, therefore, accusations which arise may not necessarily be due to his faults nor praises be due to his merits. He should not abandon hope if his head is full of despondent thoughts; neither should he be elated if it is filled with exalted ideas.
The believer in addition should assail the lies of the evil spirits. Every suggestion from the enemy must be met resolutely with the truth of the Bible. Answer doubts with the texts of faith; respond to despair with words of hope; reply to fear with words of peace. If he does not know the appropriate verse, let him pray for direction; if he recognizes that something is from his foes then he can say to them, “This is your lie, I will not accept it.” Victory is obtained by wielding the Sword of the Spirit.
During the struggle he must never forget the position of the cross. He must stand on Romans 6.11, reckoning himself dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus. He already has died and has therefore been delivered from the old creation. The evil spirits cannot now do anything in his life, for what ground of operation they had has hitherto been taken away on the cross. Each time the Christian exercises his mind and resists the devil he is depending completely on what the cross has accomplished. He perceives that his death with the Lord is a fact; hence he strongly maintains that position before the enemy. He has died; the evil spirits have no authority over a dead person. Pharaoh could not hurt the children of Israel who were on the other side of the Red Sea. Resting on the Lord’s death gives the Christian an immense advantage.
As the believer retrieves the ground inch by inch, the effect gradually will be manifested. Although at the beginning situations may appear to turn worse as he attempts to recover, nonetheless if he persists he shall witness the adversary steadily losing his power. Various symptoms will decrease as the territory is increasingly regained. He will detect his mind, with its memory, imagination and reasoning powers, gradually becoming free so that he can use it again. But let him beware of one hazard at this point: he could become self-content and cease to fight to the end, to that point where all lost ground is recovered. And thus he would leave the evil spirits with a foothold for perpetrating some new future action. The believer must continue to restore his sovereignty until he is utterly emancipated. Should he stand on the foundation of the cross and exercise his mind to resist the enemy’s usurpation, he shall soon be delivered completely. He shall become master of his own mental life.
Let us briefly recapitulate the process from passivity to freedom:
(1) The Christian’s mind was originally normal.
(2) He sank into passivity because he wanted God to use his mind.
(3) He was deceived into thinking he now possesses a new mind.
(4) In point of fact he had fallen below normalcy through the assaults of the evil spirits.
(5) His mind grew weak and powerless.
(6) He battles to regain the lost ground.
(7) His mind seems to become more corrupt and confused than ever.
(8) Actually he is gradually regaining freedom.
(9) He insists on his sovereignty and determines to recover from his passivity.
(10) Passivity is overturned; he is recovered.
(11) By maintaining his will, he has not only succeeded in thereafter retaining his normalcy, but also
(12) His mind is so recovered that he can do what he could not do before.
Let us see that a renewed mind is something deeper than simply a freed one. To regain the strongholds forfeited through passivity and believing the enemy’s lie means merely to restore What has been lost; but to be renewed includes not only restoration of what Was relinquished but also a coming into possession of something higher than he originally had. To have a mind renewed is to arrive at the highest possibility Which God has ordained for his mind. God wants the Christian’s mind not just to be unshackled from the power of darkness by becoming Wholly self-controlled, but in addition to be renewed so that it can cooperate completely With the Holy Spirit. God desires the mind to be full of light, Wisdom and understanding, With all its imaginations and reasonings purified and brought to perfect obedience to God’s Will (Col. 1.9). Let us therefore not be content With but a little gain.