Dreaming occurs in the experience of sleep and calm. The mind lays down the immediate demands of what is happening now in front of us and joins in with the swirl of unconscious processing. In this condition we are open to deeper impressions and God inserts revelations of ourselves, His heart, and spiritual conditions.
Daytime dreaming can be just as impressive. Dreams are sometimes a mental “taking out the trash.” Dreams are sometimes a visitation of heaven. Dreams are sometimes an inner suggestion and influence of the enemy.
First, we need a purified imagination. “Be renewed in the spirit of your mind,” Paul says. The mind is spiritual, bigger than the brain it uses as a computer system to engage with the physical world. The mind has other sources, among them, imagination. While people process information differently, all of us have the power of picturing and imagery to serve the mind’s continued quest for understanding and wisdom.
Knowing the power and persuasion of dreams, hell works to insert evil imaginations, to overwhelm the subconscious with intrusions of the soul and sinful. Dangerous dreams are especially given to invest us with thinking about ourselves and others that will produce unholy attitudes, or habits of thinking. Dangerous dreams can occur while awake or asleep because inner assumptions produce the pictures and images of the soul. Dangerous dreams deceive by appealing to demanding desires just as all forms of hellish distraction and enticement.
I remember watching a woman observing an international leader from the front row of a conference, pointing to her and saying, “That’s me right there.” A pretty dangerous dream! Pride is deception based upon thinking or imagining ourselves being something or someone we are not. A purified imagination responding to spiritual revelation will dream God’s dream, not a substitution or deception.
The danger lies in the reality: when people fail to respond to us based upon deceiving dangerous dreams, we feel rejection and dishonor. The cycle of bitterness begins with false expectations and moves into grieving for things lost that were never ours in the first place. This unresolved grief turns the soul sour. Dangerous dreams focus our attention upon something other than what-God-wants for our lives, and the dangerous dreams create an expectation that other people will recognize us for what our dream says we are. People don’t and we grieve the loss of this confirming acceptance and recognition. We develop anxiety or anger about this loss and cry out “to be understood and accepted.” No acceptance can come because what we expect is a fantasy, a dangerous dream.
Dangerous dreams distract us from the true disciplines that produce true destiny. Our energies, time, talent, and money are invested in something as real as a movie, a fully-developed script and storyboard of a fantasy may captivate our imagination. We cannot understand why God doesn’t make it happen, why leaders don’t recognize our greatness, why family and friends reject this projection of personal purpose we have dangerously dreamed.
Distraction is hell fallback position: if hell cannot keep us from embracing true destiny and purpose, hell will work to distract us by offering substitutes for the real or slight perversion of the true. hell will be happy for us to be “successful” reaching goals that contribute to these distractions, helping us to do things that look like destiny and purpose but are really substitutes for the real thing.
Distracting dreams may arise when we have failures reaching valid goals that are steps toward the fulfillment of our life’s work, destiny, and purpose. Religion and religious activity serve the enemy well in this effort. Creating great monuments, beautiful appearances, flowing ‘truth about truth’ discussions that substitute for truth, hell makes the achievement of appearances, the trapping of kingdom function, an worthy goal. People celebrate the heroic and charitable to justify their abandonment of calling and assignment.
“Many shall say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not done many wonderful things in Your Name.’ And, I will say, ‘I don’t know who you are.'” These are distracting dreams that substitute the will of the Father in heaven for substitutes more appealing to the imaginations of men. Distracting dreams appropriate God’s heavenly gifts and anointing to produce short-term, trendy, ‘relevant,’ and applaudable fruit.
God didn’t ask for them. God didn’t want them. God ignores them. People applaud and we have our reward – the applause of men. Good things can never substitute for personal destiny and purpose. Approval addiction drives distracting dreams. The demanding desire of acceptance from the wrong sources paints pictures. Distracting dreams often produce much ado about nothing, whirlwinds of activity that soaks up kingdom resources but does little or nothing to produce kingdom purpose.
Debilitating dreams are bit different in that they involve massive goals or impossible achievement so that the dreamer is frozen from any action awaiting some future, miraculous breakthrough. One person told me that God was going to make him so rich that he would pay off the national debt! At the time he shared this with me, he gave a $2 offering as seed, had just lost his business for the seventeenth time after his latest get-rich-quick scheme didn’t reach takeoff speed. An extreme case of debilitating dreams that are really delusions. I thought it would be good if he got a real job and supported his family instead of waiting for God to give him $15 trillion.
A debilitating dream is dangerous because it justifies being personally irresponsible to do your part of making God’s dreams come true. It is a substitute for the real thing, of course, with beguiling attractiveness. Many believers have dreams they say will bring glory to God that are really an answer to a deep personal desire for attention, respect, and acceptance. Christians seem to love the quick-fix approach to life instead of the hard work will build something approach to fulfilling God’s assignments.