Collected Works of Watchman Nee, The (Set 1) Vol. 14: The Spiritual Man (3)by Watchman Nee
Printed Copy: Available Online from Living Stream Ministry
Printed Copy: Available Online from Living Stream Ministry
Besides revealing the truth directly to us, God often (in fact most of the time) conveys the truth to us through His other children. This kind of truth is first accepted by our mind, and then it reaches our spirit. We use our mind to contact the speaking and writing of others. If we did not have a mind, it would be impossible for the truth to reach our life. Therefore, an opened mind is very crucial to our spiritual life. If our mind is fully occupied with opinions, whether they are about the truth or about the person who preaches the truth, there will be no way for the truth to enter into our mind or life. If believers have determined beforehand what kind of teaching they are going to read or listen to, it is no wonder that they do not get much help.
Believers have to know the process through which the truth is translated into life before they see the importance of an opened mind. The truth is first realized in our mind, then it enters into our spirit and touches our spirit. Finally, it is manifested in our living. A closed mind hinders the truth from reaching the spirit. A closed mind means a mind occupied with opinions. Whatever disagrees with its thoughts is opposed and criticized. Its opinion becomes the standard for all truth. Anything that does not agree with its concept is not regarded as the truth. This kind of mind gives no chance for many of God's truths to come in. As a result, the believers cannot help but suffer loss in the matter of life. Experienced believers can all testify to the importance of an opened mind with regard to the revelation of the truth. Many times we do not have understanding because we do not have an opened mind, not because the truth is not preached to us. Sometimes God has to wait for many years before He can cause us to remove all the hindrances and receive His truth. An opened mind in conjunction with an opened spirit is very helpful for believers to grow in the truth.
Even though the truth may seem foggy in the mind at times, as long as it remains open, the believer will see the preciousness of the truth when the light of the spirit comes. Many times a believer receives a truth which seems meaningless. But after a while, the light of the spirit comes in, and the believer seems to understand everything, and sees the intrinsic content of the truth. Outwardly he may not be able to put it in words, yet inwardly, there is an unspeakable understanding. An opened mind opens the way for the truth to enter in. Yet without the enlightening of the spirit, it will remain useless.
Every part of a believer's being needs to be kept under control. The same is true with the mind. This should not be ignored even after the mind has been renewed. We must never allow our mind to be as free as it wishes. Otherwise, evil spirits will come and take it over again. We need to realize that our thoughts are the seeds of our conduct. If we are not careful in our thoughts, it will not be long before we fall into sin. After the seed of a thought has been planted, we do not know when it will grow, but sooner or later it will grow. If we carefully trace all the intentional or unintentional transgressions we have committed, we will always find that they were the fruit of previous thoughts. If we let a sinful thought remain in our head without getting rid of it, some time later, even years later, it will become a sinful act. For example, if we have a bad thought about a brother and do not remove it immediately, it will bear fruit, even though we know that it is wrong and have asked God for forgiveness! All improper thoughts will certainly produce improper conduct. Therefore, believers can ill-afford not to deal thoroughly with all their thoughts. If a person cannot keep his thoughts under control, he will find out that he is not able to control anything. This is why Peter said, "Girding up the loins of your mind" (1 Pet. 1:13). This means that we need to control our thoughts and not let them run wild.
God's purpose is to bring "every thought unto the obedience of Christ" (2 Cor. 10:5). Therefore, believers should consider every one of their thoughts under the light of God. We should not allow any thought to run away from our jurisdiction or escape our attention. Every kind of thought has to go through our own examination and be under our own control.
While we are controlling our thoughts, we should make certain that no improper thoughts remain. All improper thoughts should be driven out.
A believer should not let his mind become lazy. This means that he has to apply his thoughts to everything. He should be a spiritual person with a full consciousness, not allowing his thoughts to remain stagnant or become loose. If he does, evil spirits will seize the opportunity for their work. His mind should not be lazy and without any work. It should always be active. Even after he receives a revelation in his spirit, he still should exercise his thought (mind). Do not think that after he has a revelation in his spirit he can act accordingly. He must apply his mind to examine and consider what he is about to do and find out if there is still any self-intention, anything not according to God, and anything that proceeds from the flesh. Is his behavior fully according to the spirit and fully according to God's timing, or is there still something from the self? This kind of consideration will help the spirit to further brighten the revelation in the intuition. If it is not God's revelation, it will be exposed. A mind centered on the self will prevent us from realizing God's will. It is very helpful to disregard our thoughts that are centered on the self. God does not want us to follow blindly. He wants us to apprehend His will clearly. Anything which is not thoroughly apprehended is not reliable.
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