Dreams. We all have them, but most of us don’t pay too much attention, other than to tell the more bizarre ones to our friends. Yet, dreams are an important vehicle which God uses to speak to us, and if we are not paying attention, we could be missing out on valuable revelation.
Not every dream is from God, and therefore not all of them need to be heeded. Some dreams are merely out-workings of our emotions and imaginations and may be a way our minds process things we have gone through. Some of them are actually demonic in nature. We need to learn the difference.
It is possible to have demonic dreams (usually nightmares). These tend to cause fear of supposed future traumatic events, fill us with horror, or portray a situation in an untrue light. It is possible for any of us to be harassed by such dreams on rare occasions, but when our lives are in order with the Lord, demonic dreams should be very infrequent. Christians who are tormented by them generally have some kind of open door in their lives that needs to be shut — through renouncing sin (even long-past sin), through cleansing the home of objects that could hold a demonic presence (such as idols or artwork from countries where witchcraft and pagan worship are a way of life), through applying the blood of Jesus to themselves and their homes, or even through deliverance ministry, if necessary.
There are dreams that just don’t mean anything — the “too much pizza before bed” kind. They are generally one confused scene merging into another. Possibly, they are a way that our minds naturally clean house and relax.
Dreams from the Lord distinguish themselves by being purposeful and striking enough to stay with us. They are not confused, although they may seem bizarre, and are often less complicated than dreams which are imagination-induced. God-inspired dreams are usually very symbolic in nature. What you see in them is not the whole story of what they mean.
Dreams are one of my favorite ways of hearing from the Lord. The neat thing about this form of revelation is that we can’t help what we dream, so we don’t need to be concerned, “What if I’m just making this up because I want to?” as we could with a vision or word. Since we don’t have control over what happens in them, there is no reason to feel guilty if negative elements appear. Interpretation of a dream can be manipulated, but the dream itself cannot be. We should keep in mind that although a dream cannot be controlled, it may not present absolute truth either, because some dreams are only the out-working of our emotions and internal issues. That’s why it becomes important to discern whether the dream is from the Lord or not.
God often uses dreams to say things that He can’t get through to us in our conscious hours, perhaps because we get busy and don’t listen, or even because we don’t want to hear something He wishes to speak to us.
Even those of us who think we never dream can be hearing from the Lord during our sleeping hours. Sleep labs have shown that everyone dreams, but sound sleepers often do not remember their dreams. God does speak, even in the unremembered dreams. This is why we sometimes experience going to bed with an unsolved problem on our mind, and when morning arrives, we know exactly what to do. God has been giving understanding during the night hours. It is probably why people with major decisions to make often choose to “sleep on it” before making a final move. God in His great mercy helps even nonbelievers with their decisions in this way, because He is concerned about their destinies.
Next time, I’d like to talk about how to maximize hearing from the Lord through dreams.