Several years ago, my husband and I took off for Wisconsin to pick up our boat. Since neither of us had ever been to this area, we used a TomTom GPS in the truck to help us find our way. I did not realize that when I entered the destination in the GPS, that it asked me if I wanted to avoid toll roads. I inadvertently selected “yes”. We drove around and around one of the major cities on our way to our destination because the GPS was routing us around the toll roads. Coming home, we realized our mistake, paid our two quarters to stay on a toll road, and saved an hour of drive time!
Recently, I flew to Houston Texas to train a new employee with my company. My connecting flight was delayed which caused me to arrive at Houston late at night. I was somewhat uneasy finding my way to my hotel because I do not see as well as I once did after dark, I had never been to Houston, and I was in an unfamiliar rental car. I was using my iPad to navigate me to my hotel. Siri routed me onto a toll road. I come to the first gate where I needed to pay two quarters, which luckily I found and kept moving. Siri told me to exit quickly but as I came off the exit ramp there was an officer waving me back on the toll road. There had been a horrible wreck with a semi-truck and a car and there were casualties. There was no way to get over to the street that led to my hotel.
The officer was not patient with me so I sped back onto the toll road beginning to feel even more uneasy with my current circumstances. I came to the next gate and pulled into the lane with an attendant. I explained my circumstances, and she began to tell me all the turns I would need to take to get back to that exit without using the toll road. I gave her two more quarters and proceeded to the next exit off the toll road. Siri autocorrected and began to navigate me through a very scary neighborhood and back streets until I was finally safely at my hotel.
The next morning when it was daylight I could see that I had a choice. The state highway ran parallel to the toll road and I opted to use it each day as I traveled between work and my hotel. One afternoon on my way back, I noticed one reason people were willing to pay to drive the toll road was to avoid traffic.
I want you to consider these two examples of my toll road experiences in a spiritual analogy. In this analogy, the highway will symbolize your soul and the toll road will represent your spirit.
Scripture acknowledges that there is a difference in our soul and spirit.
1 Thessalonians 5:23 NASA
Now may the God of peace Himself sanctify you entirely; and may your spirit and soul and body be preserved complete, without blame at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.
We all live in a body, we have a soul, and we have a spirit. When I reference your soul in this analogy of the highway, I am referring to your mind, will, and emotions. We know that our soul is often at war with our spirit man. Consider this Scripture.
Galatians 5:16-17 NASU
16 But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not carry out the desire of the flesh. 17 For the flesh sets its desire against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; for these are in opposition to one another, so that you may not do the things that you please.
“Flesh” in this passage is just another way to refer to your soulish realm which includes your mind, will, and emotions. The focus for this teaching is your mind, or more specifically your human understanding.
Have you ever acted on information that you did not fully understand? If we are honest, all of us have done this many times. There are two major statements that I want you to consider.
- You know some things in your spirit that your mind does not understand.
- Your mind battles with what your spirit knows.
I want to reference several Scriptures to drive these two statements home, starting with one that is very familiar to most of us.
Proverbs 3:5-6 NKJV
5 Trust in the Lord with all your heart,And lean not on your own understanding; 6 In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths.
I KNOW SOME THINGS THAT MY MIND DOES NOT UNDERSTAND!
This Scripture reminds us that we should not lean on our own understanding. In many ways, this passage is related to the war between your soul and your spirit. Instead of leaning on our own understanding, we are directed to acknowledge Him in all our ways.In the original text, this word “ways” means a road or course, in relation to my analogy; we pay the price to stay on the toll road. What is the price?The word “acknowledge” in Hebrew is yada, which basically means direct, intimate contact with God. The price of staying on the toll road is staying in close communion with your Heavenly Father so He can enlighten your understanding. Look at these examples.
1 Corinthians 2:10-15 NKJV
10 But God has revealed them to us through His Spirit. For the Spirit searches all things, yes, the deep things of God. 11 For what man knows the things of a man except the spirit of the man which is in him? Even so no one knows the things of God except the Spirit of God. 12 Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might know the things that have been freely given to us by God. 13 These things we also speak, not in words which man’s wisdom teaches but which the Holy Spirit teaches, comparing spiritual things with spiritual. 14 But the natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; nor can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.
This passage is supporting the fact that your spirit knows some things that your mind does not understand! However, in these next four verses, we read that we can have our understanding enlightened.
Luke 24:44-45 NASU
44 Now He said to them, “These are My words which I spoke to you while I was still with you, that all things which are written about Me in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms must be fulfilled.” 45 Then He opened their minds to understand the Scriptures,
Ephesians 1:17-18 NKJV
17 that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give to you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him, 18 the eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that you may know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints,
2 Timothy 2:7 NASU
Consider what I say, for the Lord will give you understanding in everything.
1 John 5:20a NASU
And we know that the Son of God has come, and has given us understanding so that we may know Him who is true;
MY MIND BATTLES WITH WHAT MY SPIRIT KNOWS!
We just referenced several Scriptures that show us that the Lord will help us to “know” some things. He will enlighten our understanding. God reveals things to us in different ways, but in many cases, that understanding doesn’t last forever. In that moment that the Lord shows you something, or speaks something, you KNOW it in your spirit, but then time passes and your mind or your human reasoning begins to question if it was real or you may simply forget it.
This is why I am faithful to carry a spiritual journal with me most of the time. When God speaks something, or shows me something, I have to write it down because I know that later my mind will question it, or I will forget about it.
Once God enlightens your understanding, it often becomes about obedience and diligence to document and stand firm on the revelation knowledge He provides. This is because many times you will not feel it or your mind will not understand it again at some point in the future. Life is full of distractions and our human emotions and understanding fluctuate with the cares of life.
It is easy to let our mind go to the worse case scenarios, it requires less discipline to allow our emotions to drive us; but that is the highway that most travel. You will be better off to pay your quarters and stay on the toll road, you will do a lot less circling the situation, and you will stay on a road of safety.
So how do we win this war between our soul and our spirit? How do we stay on the toll road? As I already said, staying in a close personal relationship with your Heavenly Father is key, but with that prayer is essential.
There are many kinds of prayer, but I like to incorporate prayers of declaration into my life. I build those declarations from the promises found in Scripture. I use these declaration prayers to inspire spontaneous communication with my Father during my prayer time.
Has your mind been warring against what your spirit knows? Do you find yourself wavering from faith to fear or from belief to doubt? I want to encourage you today to use the below prayer, stand firm on the promises of God, pay your quarters and STAY ON THE TOLL ROAD!
Toll Road Prayer
Today my soul is warring against my spirit! My soul, which is my mind, will, and emotions, relies on my human understanding. However, I know some things in my spirit that my mind does not understand! That is why I commit to trust in the Lord with all my heart and I do not lean on my own understanding. (Prov. 3:5) The peace of God surpasses all my human understanding and that peace guards my heart and my mind through Jesus Christ. (Phil. 4:7)
Even though I walk in the flesh, I do not war according to the flesh. For the weapons of my warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ. (2 Cor. 10:3-5) I bring every thought, emotion, and human understanding that is contrary to God’s will captive and I refuse to entertain it.
Father, Your Word tells me to give attention to know understanding, (Prov. 4:1) and I trust You to give me the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of You, and to enlighten the eyes of my understanding (Eph. 1:17-18), that I will see and say what my spirit knows even if my human understanding is limited.