(33) The Spiritual Man SECTION EIGHT
The Analysis of the Soul
Part 2. THE MIND
THE WAY OF DELIVERANCE
When the mind of a believer has fallen into the condition mentioned in the preceding chapter, he should seek the way of deliverance. In the preceding chapter we could only briefly discuss the general phenomena and could not point out everyone's condition. Since the extent of each one's passivity is different, the extent of the attack by the evil spirits is different; therefore, the extent of the mind's torment is also different. But when a believer sees that his own mind has any of the conditions mentioned in the preceding chapter, he should be on the alert. It could be that he has given ground to the evil spirits and is being attacked by them. If this is the case, he should seek the way of deliverance.
After reading the lesson in the preceding chapter, most believers will wonder why they did not pay any attention to the torture in their mind. Is it not strange that a believer never knows the condition his mind has fallen into? He always seems to have considerable knowledge about other things, but concerning his own mind, he seems to know nothing. Although he has suffered much torment, he still has not paid much attention to it. He must wait for others to remind him before realizing his own condition. Why has he not thought of this before? Does this not tell us that evil spirits and our minds have a special relationship with each other, and that the knowledge in our minds seem to be shallower than anything else? Everyone who has suffered from evil spirits should answer this question.
THE CRAFTINESS OF THE EVIL SPIRITS
When the believer's eyes are opened to see his own condition, he naturally wants to seek the way of deliverance. But the lying, evil spirits will not be so gentle as to allow their prisoners to go free. They will try their best to hinder the believer from gaining deliverance. Their method is to use many lies as excuses.
Evil spirits will tell the believer, "Your sudden and good thought is of God...these sudden revelations are the result of being spiritual...your bad memory is caused by something in your physical body...your sudden forgetfulness is natural...oversensitivity is a matter of disposition...a weak memory is hereditary...insomnia is an illness...you are tired...your inability to think is the result of overwork...you cannot stop thinking at night because you have used your mind too much during the day...unclean thoughts come from the sins that you have committed...your inability to listen to others is because of differences in the environment...the blame is altogether on others." There are innumerable excuses that evil spirits purposely devise other than just these. If the believer does not know that he is truly being attacked, that he has truly deviated from the normal condition, evil spirits will use these and similar excuses to cover up the ground that they have gained. Little does he know that the real reason is his passivity; his mind has become blank and occupied by evil spirits. These sicknesses are the result of evil spirits' working. Of course, we must also admit that behind these excuses, there are also natural causes mixed in with them. But the experiences of many believers tell us that evil spirits are most subtle. They can work alongside natural causes and make the believers think that their activities are only related to natural causes, coming from things like the disposition, the physical body, the environment, etc.; therefore, the believers forget that evil spirits have blended themselves into these causes. Evil spirits love to cover up their work with a little natural cause. One thing, however, is certain: if the cause is natural, the original condition of the man should be restored when the natural cause is eliminated. If there is a supernatural cause mixed in with it (due to evil spirits), the man will not be restored even when the natural cause is eliminated. All the cases, involving a person who is not restored when the natural causes are eliminated, are due to a mixture with supernatural causes. For example, when you have insomnia, the evil spirits may give you an excuse, saying, "You have worked too hard; you have overexerted your mind. This is why you have this illness." If you believe their word, you will stop working and rest for a while, trying not to use your mind at all. But while you are sleeping, you will still have thousands of thoughts going through your mind. This tells you that your illness is not solely related to natural causes because after you have eliminated the natural causes, your symptoms are still not cured. Therefore, there must be some supernatural causes mixed in with it. If you do not try to deal with the supernatural causes, no cure will be effective no matter how much you eliminate the natural causes.
Therefore, the most important thing for the believer to do now is examine where these excuses come from. Evil spirits are well able to make man think that their works are caused by something natural. They often make the believer think that he himself has some faults. In this way, their works are covered up and left undiscovered; therefore, they are not eliminated. Whenever the believer's mind has some excusing thoughts, he must examine all the reasonings. The believer must trace the source and examine the cause of the present condition of his mind. Otherwise, if he misinterprets—mistaking the supernatural for the natural—evil spirits will gain much more ground. All the opinions that he has toward his own condition must be confirmed. Otherwise, before he can regain his former ground, new ground will have already been given to evil spirits. If there are times when he cannot think, he must ask why. If there are times when he is full of thoughts, he also must ask why.
What must be guarded against the most is the evil spirits' utilizing a believer to work for them in order to protect their work in him! This is possible because some believers have been worked on by evil spirits for quite some time. A believer often helps the evil spirits to cover up the reason for his being attacked; he does not let the reason manifest itself or prove that it is the work of evil spirits! In this way, he becomes an accomplice of evil spirits and helps preserve their ground—even when he himself knows that he is being troubled.
At such times evil spirits will cause the believer's flesh to join them in their work. (Indeed, the flesh is always the co-worker of the devil!) They will cause the believer to think that he can prevent his mind from being occupied by the devil. The believer does this to save face or as a result of some other reasons. A reluctance to examine and a complacency and refusal to relinquish one's "spiritual" experience is a big obstacle to deliverance. The believer may say, "I do not need deliverance; therefore, I do not want to be delivered. Through Christ, I am already victorious; He has already overcome Satan; therefore, now I can ignore Satan. Let God deal with him. I will just pay attention to Christ. I do not want to know anything about Satan! We just preach the gospel; there is no need to be bothered about Satan!" There are other similar words which this kind of person will say. Perhaps, he will even speak to the one who told him this truth, saying, "If that is the case, resist for me and pray for me." This kind of word may not be an insincere request, but even if it is sincere, he is trying to ease himself and let others do the work of deliverance for him. He should know that he dislikes hearing about the devil and his work because the devil's work is already in his mind. He is afraid that once discovered, he will need to make an effort to deal with it. Is it really true that he already knows everything about the devil and that he no longer needs to know it? The gospel not only saves men and delivers them from sin, it also delivers them from Satan. When we preach the gospel, why should we not mention the devil? Is this not the same as those who have committed certain sins, and who are afraid when others mention the same sin? Such a person has been occupied by the devil and is afraid when others mention the devil. To an ordinary person, this kind of discussion is meaningless. But to the one whose mind is occupied by the devil, there are ample reasons for being afraid. Actually, when a believer says these words, in the depth of his heart, he is afraid that his real condition will be exposed. If he is truly occupied by the devil, he will not know what to do; therefore, he says these kinds of words. He wants to conceal himself in order to console himself.
When the believer is enlightened and begins to seek freedom, evil spirits will pour out many accusations in his mind. They will say that he is wrong in this and in that. There will be all kinds of condemnation, blame, and accusation. These will cause the believers to be too occupied to go onward to regain the ground given to them. They know that the believer has already been enlightened and that there is no way to deceive him again. Hence, they will continue to accuse him, saying, "You are wrong; you are wrong." At such times the believer will seem to sink into a kind of pit of sin and have no way to rise up again. However, if the believer recognizes these as the devil's lies and wholeheartedly resists them, he will overcome.
Experience has taught us one thing. When the believer understands the reality of the situation, knows that he has lost the sovereignty in his mind, and wants to rise up to regain this sovereignty, evil spirits will engage in a final struggle within and cause the believer to suffer torment several times more than before. At this moment, evil spirits will again resort to their habitual lies. They will tell the believer that he can no longer be free, that he has already fallen too deep into passivity, that God is no longer willing to grant mercy, that it is best if he does not resist, allowing the situation to remain as it is, and that there will never be a day when he will be delivered. However, he does not need to fight and cause himself to suffer in vain. The believer must know that he does not live by the grace of evil spirits! Even if it means death, he should still gain his freedom. There is no person who is so passive that he cannot obtain deliverance. God is always for him, and he can be freed.
When the believer understands the reality of the situation, when he knows that his own mind has never been completely free from the bondage of the powers of darkness, and when he knows that he should fight against evil spirits to break down all their strongholds, he will see that the weapons for this warfare must be spiritual. Anything of the flesh will be of no avail. He will see that repeated resolutions are not enough and that methods of training the mind or memory will not enable him to gain freedom. Since his mind has been chained by supernatural powers, weapons of the flesh cannot drive them out or destroy them. Very often, a believer realizes the degree to which the powers of darkness have occupied his mind only when he wholeheartedly wants to understand the spiritual truth—not the opinions in his mind regarding the truth—and is prepared to fight against the evil spirits to regain the lost ground. At this time, they will rise up to guard the ground that they have already gained; the believer will also see how muddled, passive, and slow his own mind is, and how completely beyond his own control it is. He will also see that evil spirits have utilized many means through his mind to torment him and prevent him from acting to regain the ground. He will see that his mind is truly the stronghold of the enemy and that he has never fully had control over it. At this moment he will also see the methods that the enemy used to prevent him from understanding the truth that his mind wanted to know because he was able to remember unimportant things, but not able to understand or remember the truth. He may sense a kind of resistance in his mind against the truth to which he has previously consented.
Now is the time to begin to fight for the freedom of the mind. Is the believer willing to be the stronghold of Satan permanently? Who should solve this problem? Should it be God? It should not be God; it should be man. The believer must choose and see whether he wants to fully consecrate to God or allow his mind to become the leasing ground of Satan. Will the powers of darkness be allowed to utilize his mind? Will all kinds of thoughts coming out of the pit be allowed to pour out from this part of a saved person? Will they be allowed to fill his mind with the fire of hell? Will they be allowed to utilize his mind to spread their teachings? Will they be allowed to utilize his mind to slander God? Will they be allowed to control his mind, gaining access to freely go in and out? Will they be allowed to oppose God's truth through his mind? Will they be allowed to torment him through his mind? The believer must make the choice himself! The question is whether or not the believer is willing to be a puppet of evil spirits permanently. The believer himself must choose; otherwise, there is no way to be delivered. This does not mean that the believer has some confidence. It is a question of whether or not the believer is truly opposing the evil spirits' attacks.
We have previously mentioned that evil spirits are able to work in the mind of the believer because he has given them the ground. We have also mentioned what this ground is. We can briefly divide it into six items. If we sum up these six items, they can be classified into three main groups: (1) the unrenewed mind, (2) accepting (or believing in) the lies of evil spirits, and (3) a state of passivity. The believer must carefully examine what kind of ground he has given to evil spirits and what has led him to his present condition. Is it the unrenewed mind? Is it that he has believed in the lies of evil spirits? Is it a passive mind? Or is it a combination of all three of these? According to the experience of the believer, many have given this kind of ground to the evil spirits. If he realizes in which aspect or aspects he has given ground to the evil spirits, he should regain the ground that he has given to them. Regaining the ground is the only way to obtain deliverance. Because the believer reserved ground for evil spirits, he fell into his present position; therefore, once the ground is removed, the believer will gain freedom. The unrenewed mind must be renewed. The lies that were accepted from the evil spirits must be uncovered and refused. Passivity must be changed into self-governing activity. Now we want to see the regaining of these three kinds of ground separately.
Renewing the Mind
God not only wants the minds of His children to be transformed at the time of their repentance, but to be renewed completely like a transparent crystal. There is such a command in the Bible because the believer has not yet been completely freed from the fleshly mind that evil spirits can work through. At first, a believer just has a narrow mind, which is unable to tolerate others; or he may have a foolish mind, which is unable to understand profound doctrines; or he may have an ignorant mind, which is unable to bear important work. But later, he may degenerate into deeper sins "because the mind set on the flesh is enmity against God" (Rom. 8:7). After many believers have learned the teaching in Romans 6, they often think that they are completely freed from the fleshly mind. Little do they know that the effectiveness of the cross must be applied in detail to every part of man. After reckoning "yourselves to be dead to sin" (v. 11), believers should "not let sin therefore reign in your mortal body" (v. 12). Likewise after the mind has been transformed, they should "take captive every thought unto the obedience of Christ" (2 Cor. 10:5). The mind must be renewed completely because, no matter how little remains of the fleshly mind, it is still enmity against God.
If we want to have our mind renewed, we must come to the cross, for it is here that we can have the renewal. This is clearly explained in Ephesians 4. In verses 17 through 18 the apostle speaks of the darkness of man's fleshly mind. In verses 22 through 23 he speaks of the way of renewing: "That you put off, as regards your former manner of life, the old man, which is being corrupted according to the lusts of the deceit, and that you be renewed in the spirit of your mind." We know that our old man has been crucified with the Lord (Rom. 6:6), but these verses advise that we should "put off" in order for our mind to be renewed. By this we can see that the renewing of the mind is through the cross. Believers should know that our old mind is a part of the old man, which God wants us to "put off" completely. The salvation which God has carried out on the cross does not just give us a new life. He also wants to renew all the functions of our soul. The salvation within the depth of our whole being must be "worked out" gradually (Phil. 2:12). What is lacking today is that believers do not know that their minds need to be saved (Eph. 6:17). They think that salvation is a general and ambiguous matter. They do not realize that God wants to save our whole being in order that all of our faculties may be renewed and become perfectly suitable for His use. Our mind is one of our faculties. God wants the believer to believe that the cross has crucified his old man. He should acknowledge God's judgment on his old man in a definite way and exercise his will to reject—to put off—the conduct of his old man, which includes his old way of thinking. He should be willing to come to the cross and forsake his old mind, his old way of thinking, and his old reasoning; he should be willing to trust in God for a new one. Brothers, all of these should be put off in a definite way. The renewing of the mind is God's work; but the putting off (the rejecting) and the denying (the forsaking) of the old mind is your work. If you take care of your part, God will fulfill His part. After you have put off in a definite way, you should believe that God will do the renewing for you in a definite way, even though you may not yet know the way to be renewed.
Today a countless number of believers carry their old way of thinking with them wherever they go. Although they are saved and have obtained the new life, they have not changed any in their former reasoning, their way of thinking, and their prejudice. They merely put on a Christian coating! They still apply their former mind, reasoning, way of thinking, and prejudice to examine, receive, or preach spiritual truths. It is no wonder that they fall into many mistakes and cause many disputes in the church. Just as God hates man to do His work with his own strength, He also hates man to think His truth with his own mind. The unrenewed mind is spiritually dead; whatever issues from it is also dead. Although many believers boast of the profoundness of their biblical knowledge and the excellence of their theological doctrines, they are just dead to those who have eyes.
After the believer is aware of the oldness of his mind and is willing to concentrate on "putting off" through the cross, he should daily refuse all the thoughts that are of the flesh through practice. Otherwise it will be impossible to be renewed. Even though God wants to renew the mind of the believer, the believer may continue daily to think according to the flesh. When this happens, God's work cannot be successful.
The believer should patiently and resolutely examine his own thoughts one by one in the light of God. All that are not of God and contradictory to God's truth should be "squeezed out" from the mind and abandoned completely. Even the exercise of his unrenewed mind to understand God's truth must be rejected completely. The apostle tells us that the unrenewed mind is full of "reasonings" and all kinds of imaginations that rise up against the knowledge of God (2 Cor. 10:5). These reasonings and imaginations hinder man from truly gaining the knowledge of God. The believer must break through them. "Every thought" must be brought "unto the obedience of Christ." The believer cannot be satisfied until every thought of his mind has come unto the obedience of Christ. The apostle said "every thought." Therefore, the believer cannot let one thought be loose. He should examine his thought and find out whether it is: (1) from his former position, (2) from the ground which he has relinquished, (3) from new ground given to evil spirits, or (4) whether it is a proper thought. He should examine why his mind is so confused and why he has prejudicial thoughts, rebellious thoughts, and angry thoughts. For example, why do I reject certain truths without ever examining them? Why do I oppose certain persons, based only on hearsay? Do I have sufficient reasons? Is there any intention to hate within my natural mind? Every thought must be examined in order that every thought issuing from the old creation would be discovered and eliminated. Naturally, this is a heavy burden to those who are accustomed to living foolishly because their thoughts are controlled by the power of darkness, and they are wild. But warfare is warfare, and it can never be carried out by a simple method. If we do not fight, we cannot break through these thoughts one by one, because the mind is the stronghold of evil spirits. The enemy is real. This has been proven by warfare. Because there is a warfare, there must be an enemy. Since the enemy is before us, how can we be negligent?
Rejecting the Lies
When a believer carries out an examination in the light of God, he will see that in the past he accepted countless lies from evil spirits. Consequently, he fell into the present position. (1) Sometimes he misunderstood God's truth by believing in the lies of evil spirits which resulted in a wrong attitude and behavior. This attitude and behavior gave rise to the work of evil spirits. For example, he may have misunderstood God's relationship with man and may have thought that God should directly impart His thought into him. Therefore he passively waited and accepted what he believed to be a thought from God. In so doing, he allowed the evil spirit to counterfeit and impart into him similar thoughts. (2) Sometimes he believed the words which the evil spirits directly spoke to him about his physical health and other matters related to him; consequently, his body and these matters responded according to what the evil spirits told him. For example, evil spirits may speak in the mind of the believer that a certain thing will surely happen to him. His will does not resist and, in some cases, even accepts it fully. Consequently, at the time designated by the evil spirits, that certain thing actually happens to him.
If a believer examines his situation, he will see that many of the worries, weaknesses, illnesses, and various undesirable situations that have occurred in his life were caused by accepting the lies of the evil spirits, either directly or indirectly. The result is his present condition. All kinds of related things happen to a believer according to what he has doubted and feared, because he has either directly believed in the lies of the evil spirits or because of what he has done as a result of believing in their words. If he wants to obtain deliverance, he must understand what is God's light and what is God's truth. In the past, he gave them the ground through believing in their lies. Now he can regain the ground and obtain freedom through rejecting their lies. Only truth can eliminate lies, just as only light can dispel darkness. Therefore the believer must pursue after all the truth that is related to himself, God, and the evil spirits. He should pay the price to seek the truth. He should pray definitely and ask God to give him the light so that he would know his true condition (the truth), his past experience, how he was deceived, and what kind of sufferings he experienced because of this deception. He should examine where the sufferings have come from, which he is presently undergoing, mentally, physically and environmentally. He should understand the cause of every suffering that comes upon him. Is the suffering related to him believing in certain words from evil spirits, or is it related to wrong behavior that results from their lies? He should examine the suffering by tracing its origin peacefully, prayerfully, and with expectation.
Evil spirits hate light and truth the most because this takes away the basis of their work. However, in order for a sentence of truth to enter into the mind of the believer, it must pass through warfare. Evil spirits do not want the believer to find out that they have done many things. Neither do they want the believer to know which one of his present conditions is caused by which lies he has believed in. The principle of their work is always "that the illumination...might not shine on them" (2 Cor. 4:4). Therefore, the believer must be very careful that he understands the truth in all things. The meaning of truth is the actual condition. Although the believer himself cannot cast out evil spirits, he can set his will on the side of truth and cause evil spirits to lose the ground of their work. He can declare, at least, that he wants the truth, wants to understand the truth, and wants to obey the truth. His prayer and choice should be the rejecting of all the lies of evil spirits, no matter whether the form of these lies is a thought, an imagination, or a doctrine. By doing this, he will make way for the Holy Spirit to lead his darkened mind into the bright truth of God. Experientially, the believer will see that sometimes it takes several months (or longer) before he is able to understand one lie of evil spirits. He should first reject all the ground of the evil spirits in his will and then carefully overthrow their lies one by one. He should no longer believe what he once believed before and should gradually claim back his ground. He should no longer believe in what the evil spirits say. They will then lose their power.
KNOWING THE NORMAL CONDITION
If a believer falls into all kinds of miserable conditions because of being passive and believing in the lies of evil spirits, he needs to know his own "normal condition." Aside from the ground of the unrenewed mind, these two kinds of ground that are given to evil spirits will cause the believer to steadily deteriorate in every aspect. His reasoning, memory, physical strength, and everything else will degenerate. Once the believer realizes his own danger, he can rise up to pursue deliverance. But what does it mean to be delivered? It means that he should be "restored to the original condition." However, if the believer wants to be recovered back to the original condition, he should know what the "original" condition is. The believer should know that there is a normalcy, an original condition from where he fell when he was deceived by evil spirits. He should know what his normal condition is. He has fallen from his normal condition into today's position. If he has not fallen, he does not need to seek recovery. A believer should pay attention to whether his condition today is different than before, and whether his condition is much worse than before. He should not want to continue with his present condition; rather, he should want to be recovered to his former condition. He must ask, "How much worse is my present condition compared with my past? How was I before? What should I now do in order to return to my former condition?"
This former condition is his normal condition. The place from which he has fallen is his normal condition. If he does not understand his "point of origin," or his normal condition, he should ask himself these few questions: "Have my thoughts always been this confused from the time I was born? Has there been a time when I was not this way? Has my memory been this bad from the time I was born? Has there been a time when I could remember very well? Have I always been unable to sleep? Has there been a time when I could sleep? Have I always had many pictures going through my eyes like movies? Has there been a time when I was clearer? Have I always been this weak? Has there been a time when I was stronger? Have I always been unable to control myself? Has there been a time when I was better?" After asking these and similar questions, the believer will know if he has lost his normal condition and if he has been passive or attacked. He will also know what his normal condition is.
To understand his own normal condition, the believer must first acknowledge and believe that he has a normal condition. Although he has fallen today, he surely had a standard that he experienced before he fell. This is his "point of origin." Now he should pursue toward this point and seek for a recovery. The meaning of a normal condition is nothing other than a person's proper condition. If the believer finds it hard to establish what his proper condition is, he should recall the period of time in his life when his spirit, or soul, or body was "at its best." He should recall the time when his spirit was the strongest, the period of time when his memory and thoughts were the strongest and clearest, and the year when his body was the healthiest. After he finds out the best period of his life, he should take the conditions of that period as his normal condition. This is the bottom line. He should at least reach this standard. If he is living a life below this standard, he should not be contented. He should realize that if there has been a time that he reached that state, there is no reason that he cannot reach the same condition at this time, not to mention the fact that the condition at his peak time in the past may still not be the highest level that he can attain. Therefore, he must insist on his normal condition and not be willing to go down.
When a believer compares his present condition to his former condition, he will know whether he is already "far off." A person whose mind has been attacked needs to see how his memory and thoughts are "far off." The person whose body has been attacked needs to see how his own strength is "far off." Once the believer knows that he has fallen from his normal condition, he should exercise his will to reject and resist until he returns to his normal condition. But the evil spirits will surely not sit back to watch this kind of "overthrowing." They will say to the believer, "You are already old, and you cannot expect your mind to be as strong as when you were young. Human faculties generally deteriorate and become weaker as time goes by." If you are young, they will say, "You were born weak. This is why you cannot enjoy the blessing of a strong mind continuously like others do." They may tell the believer, "You have been overworked. This is why you have fallen into this state." They may even be a little more bold and say, "This is what you actually are. Others may be better than you are, but this is because there is a difference of gifts." In this way, evil spirits try to make the believer think that the reasons for his weakness are natural, obvious, and necessary and that there is nothing to be surprised about. If the believer is not deceived and not passive, but is absolutely free, there may be some ground for belief in these words (but not for certain); they still need to be tested. If the believer is deceived or passive, then excuses that blame everything on natural causes are absolutely untrustworthy. Since the believer is saved and once obtained a better condition—spiritually, mentally, and physically—he should not allow the authority of darkness to bind him in a much lower position. These are all the lies of evil spirits, and the believer should completely reject them.
We must pay attention to one thing: there is an absolute difference between our mind being weakened by natural illness and being weakened by giving ground to evil spirits. If the weakness is because of natural illness, it surely will cause some damage to man's nervous system. But if it is caused by the work of evil spirits, it does not change the nature of an organ; rather, it merely causes the organ to function abnormally. The human mind is not damaged; rather, it becomes passive and temporarily cannot function. When evil spirits are cast out, the mind will be recovered to its former condition. The mentality of many lunatics is first inflicted with natural illness; later evil spirits utilize these illnesses to cause further disturbances. If there are no evil spirits working behind them, mental illnesses alone are not that difficult to treat.
After the believer realizes his own normal condition, his most important job is to fight to return to his normal condition. He knows that he has a "point of origin" and wants to be recovered. But he should know that evil spirits will guard the ground that they have gained in the same way that worldly kings guard their territories. He cannot expect evil spirits to willingly return the ground that they have gained. Unless evil spirits have no other choice, they are unwilling to give up. Therefore, the believer should realize that it requires effort to regain the lost ground, even though it is very easy to surrender it. One thing, however, deserves our attention. Just as our country has laws, and the judgment of its laws is the highest authority that every citizen should abide by, God's universe also has laws, and the judgment of its laws is the highest authority that every evil spirit must abide by. Therefore, we should understand the laws in the spiritual realm and walk accordingly. Then the evil spirits will have no choice but to surrender their ground.
The most important law in the spiritual realm is that everything related to man must have the consent of man's will before it can be carried out. When the believer ignorantly accepts the deception of evil spirits, he allows them to work on him. In order for the believer to regain the ground, he must exercise his will to overturn the initial permission and insist that he belongs to himself, and that the evil spirits have no right to utilize any part of him. In this kind of warfare, evil spirits cannot go against the law; they must retreat. When the believer's will is passive, his mind also is passive. Consequently, his mind becomes occupied by evil spirits. At this point he should declare that his mind is his own in accordance with God's law. He should choose to use his own mind and no longer allow external forces to instigate, impart revelation to, utilize, and press his mind. If the believer continually regains the passive ground and uses his own mind, his mind will be gradually delivered to its original normal condition. (Details concerning regaining the ground and the warfare will be specified in the following section.)
In this warfare, the believer must exercise his own mind. He must try his best to do his work. He must take the initiative every time and not depend on others in everything. If possible, he should make his own decisions in everything and not passively wait on others and the environment. He should not look back on the past or worry about the future; he should live only for the present moment. He should go on step by step with prayer and watchfulness. He must use his own mind and think—what he is doing, what he is speaking, and what he is. He should give up the crutch and not use worldly things and methods to substitute for the capacity of his mind. He should use his mind to think, weigh, remember, and understand.
Because the believer's mind has been passive for a long time, it takes time to fight back to the position of freedom. Before he is free, many of the thoughts in his mind are not his own; they belong to the evil spirits in his mind. Therefore, during this period, every thought must be examined one by one. Otherwise, before the old ground is regained completely, new ground will be given unknowingly and ignorantly to the evil spirits. At this moment, all the accusations and praises that the believer receives are not necessarily caused by the believer's wrongdoing or good works. Mostly they are words from the evil spirits. Hence, when his mind is full of discouraging thoughts, he should not think that he is truly hopeless. If his mind is full of uplifted thoughts, he should not think that he is really doing well.
Furthermore, the believer should repeatedly confront the lies of evil spirits. Whatever thoughts the evil spirits have suggested in his mind, the believer must answer specifically with words in the Scripture. Evil spirits will cause him to doubt, so he must reply with verses on faith. Evil spirits will cause him to be discouraged, so he must reply with verses on hope. Evil spirits will cause him to fear, so he must reply with verses on peace. If he does not know what verses to use, he can ask God to show him. Alternatively, if he recognizes that these are assuredly from evil spirits, he can tell them, "These are your lies. I do not want them." This way of applying the sword of the Holy Spirit is the way of victory.
In this warfare, the believer must not forget the position of the cross. He must stand on Romans 6:11 and believe that he is already dead to sin and made alive unto God in Christ Jesus. He is a dead man and has put off the old creation. Now evil spirits can no longer do anything on him, because the place where they can work is hung on the cross. Every time he wants to reject the evil spirits and exercise his mind, he must depend completely on the accomplishment of the cross. He must realize that his death with the Lord is a fact. Therefore, he should hold fast to this fact before the evil spirits. He is already dead, and the evil spirits have no authority over dead persons. Pharaoh could no longer harm the Israelites who were on the other side of the Red Sea. Resting upon the Lord's death will give the believer the greatest benefit.
FREEDOM AND RENEWING
After the believer has regained the ground step by step in this way, a result will gradually be manifested. In the beginning, it seems that the more he regains, the more dangerous the situation becomes. However, after the believer insists on regaining all the ground, he will see evil spirits gradually losing their power, and that they are no longer able to do anything. When the ground is gradually regained, all the symptoms will gradually decrease. The believer will see that his own mind, memory, imagination and reasons gradually are able to act on their own and be used. Evil spirits can no longer attack as before. At this time, however, there is a danger that before all the ground is regained and before a full recovery is seen, he will become contented and satisfied and then stop fighting. This kind of tolerance will enable evil spirits to make a comeback in the future. The believer must continue to claim back his sovereignty until he is truly and completely freed. When he stands on the foundation of the cross and exercises his own mind, rejecting the evil spirits' arrogance and old concepts, he will soon experience full deliverance. He will see that he has become once again the master of all his thoughts.
Now let us sum up the stages from being passive to being freed:
(1)The mind of the believer is originally normal.
We should know that the renewed mind is deeper than the liberated mind. To regain the ground lost to passivity and the ground given to the lies will merely restore the believer to his original condition. However, renewing not only restores one to his original condition, but brings him to a place that is higher than the "point of origin." The renewed mind is a state that the believer's mind has never reached before in his lifetime; it is the highest point which God has designated for him and the highest point possible. God not only wants the believer's mind to be completely severed from the authority of darkness, in order for the believer to be completely autonomous, He also wants to renew his mind. Then the mind and the Holy Spirit will be fully one—full of light, wisdom, and intelligence. Then his imagination and reason will be cleansed and submissive, completely obedient to God's will (Col. 1:9). We should not be satisfied with small gains.