Dream literally means “sleep vision.” The oldest English form of the words means “joy, mirth, and music.” The other peek-English forms follow along the lines of “vision, deception, imaginations of a sleeping person,” and references to music, noise, and merriment. Perhaps, some of the words blend in a sense of drunkenness. At any rate, the sense of the word is not particular and specific to our modern sense of dreaming.
Of course, the word is fully available in Hebrew and Greek, and the concept of dreaming is as old as mankind. God created men with imagination and dreaming is a process of the mind that occurs in sleep.
The mind is as active as it is during waking consciousness, but the ideas, images, and sensations being processed are involuntary. As pervasive as dreaming is, we don’t control our dreams. Amazingly, this sense of “dreaming” and “living the dream” carries over into the language of success, happiness, love, and personal purpose.
We hear a great deal about “the American dream” that we are losing or have already lost, “finding your dream girl or boy” to reference the fulfilling experience of love, “beyond your wildest dreams” to speak of experiences that surprise us or go beyond our expectations, and a host of other related terms and expressions in which the term “dream” is used.
Of course, some dreaming is simply the brain taking out the garbage. And, dreaming is certainly affected by our waking experiences, stresses, fears, ambitions, passions, and aggressions. On the flip side is the amazing mystery of human dreaming that has been a source of discussion for men in all of history.
The flipside of dreaming is not nightmares as much as a failure to experience this level of sleep in which dreaming occurs. We do know that people awakened as they enter into REM sleep in an effort to see what happens when dreaming is avoided begin to experience psychotic episodes. That is, not dreaming can make you a bit crazy.
None of the ridiculous psychology of Freud or the mystic and psychic silliness of the occult has any place in a believer’s life. None. Period. Dream analysis by “professionals” does little to explain the realities of life because the reality of spirit is ignored or misunderstood and misapplied by anyone not filled with the Spirit. Totally avoid that darkness; it is always a dead end.
Dreaming and God
God and angels can be part of our involuntary dream life. Hurrah! Hallelujah! And, God is welcome to invade, saturate, control and influence, the subconscious anytime He wishes! One thing is certain: when God involves Himself in our dreams through angels or makes a personal appearance, what God is communicating to the subconscious, involuntary functions of the mind is totally consistent with His thinking and Providence! God never uses dreams to confuse or contradict Himself, but to provide direction, healing, wholeness, life, and light!
God knows our destinies without limit in infinite detail. God is never “making up His mind” about things depending upon His mood or whim. God is always intentional, and His intentions, when expressed in our dreams, make His intentions for us within His purposes and our destinies more clear.
God wants us to enjoy greater revelation, clarity, and definition in our dreams. God wants to match our dreams to His design for our destiny. God works to make us the people who can fulfill destiny dreams; this the process of rescue called “redemption” or “salvation” that the power of the Cross and Spirit makes possible in the ultimate sense!
God isn’t limited to observing our dreams; He can enter our dreams and involve Himself in our dreams, both natural and spiritual. While we long for a Father who will listen to our dreams, God is a Father who is the Source of our destinies, therefore, a Source of our dreams.
Beware the idea that God invades our dreams at majestic and magical moments when God is not interrupting our natural lives to invest spiritual reality as He is looking for people led by spiritual reality who can invest that reality into the natural reality. [Clearly, these are not two separate realities.]
Beware also the gnostic concept that anything spiritual is good and anything physical is bad or some modification of that in which physical is seen as the source of evil and spiritual as the source of good. Both spiritual and natural realities are sources of good and bad. Beware the tendency to see anything or anyone opposed to your dreams as evil since God will oppose your dreams whenever and wherever they oppose His purpose for your life.
Caution on Humanistic Residues
Some clarity should be given to “chase your dreams” in that some believers inadvertently include humanistic worldview principles in their approach to personal destiny. While God certainly wants you to live your dreams, He involves Himself in the process in ways that many modern American believers resist. In fact, some believers are rebuking God thinking His work in their lives must be the devil!
God resists the proud and gives grace to the humble. Unpacking what this means, pride is deception and humility can be properly defined in Paul’s declaration – “I am what I am by God’s grace.” So, having deceptive dreams will result in God resisting the very thing we are hoping He will enable us to accomplish, while pursuing our dreams with a total surrender to Father’s discipline and direction will result in maximum enabling spiritual capacities to fulfill destiny.
We all have some residues of humanism that require a strong and intentional reset of the way in which we process information. This is the whole of Paul’s strong instruction concerning the what-God-wants of our lives. We can just as validly translate Romans 12:2 either, “Do not shape yourself in the world’s mold” or “Do not allow the world to shape you in its mold.” We can readily recognize that both of these aspects of environmental influence are at work in our minds.
Then, Paul says, “Be transformed by the renewing of your mind.” This transformational process does something radical with regards our worldview and the basics of how we process information! We all require this transformation if we are to accurately prove the what-God-wants for our lives.
Therefore, we should be humble about our grasp of destiny. We should assume that we don’t know much about our destinies until God tells us what our destinies are. We should really temper the rather nebulous concept that “God gives you the dreams about which you are passionate.”
I feel that it is too simplistic to tell people that whatever they are passionate about is the dream God put into their hearts. That seems pretty much backwards, and such a statement seems to ignore a lot of Bible history about how God deals with individuals, generations, and nations. Far too many of our Bible heroes were taken by surprise about God’s will for them for us to assume that we each possess latent or innate God-given dreams. We do, of course, possess such purposes, but we are lack adequate spiritual sensory perceptions to recognize the difference between pride and humility.
Humanism uses words like “potential, destiny, and dream” in ways that are contrary to God’s use of words like “created disposition, calling, charismatic gifts, function, and providence.” Mixtures of humanism are rampant in modernized christian thought. Rampant. Mixtures have also led some believers to disregard “meditation, confession, and declaration” because they see them as overtly humanistic when they are biblical.
Beware the tendency to separate personal success from your spiritual life or make your spiritual life one among many of the factors or pursuits of a “well-rounded approach” to personal achievement. We don’t do the work-out thing, the fam thing, the career thing, the money thing, and the church thing as if our spiritual life is just one of the key areas of a successful life! Jesus is not an after-market add-on feature available to all models to assist people in the pursuit of personal potential!
God’s approach to personal success is to kill you! “Take up your cross daily and follow Me” ain’t a bumper stick from the Love of God Family bookstore!
I Will Not Leave You Orphans
Nothing could be more clear in Jesus’ approach to discipling as a strategy for personal success and leadership development than the immediate, intimate involvement of God in realizing personal purpose and living the dream. That is, God isn’t “out there somewhere” when it comes to our personal success. He is “right here and now” involved!
However, in order to enjoy this involvement, we have to follow His strategy, not ours or the world’s. Tragically, many believers – perhaps 90% of modern American believers – are novice in spirit, immature and unexposed to spiritual realities, and fully engaged in substituting the spirit of this world for the Spirit of God! Too much of our worldview is based upon the idea that Jesus is gone, kingdom is future, and we are all pretty much wandering around trying to avoid sin until the Rapture. Most believers do not see “personal destiny fulfillment” in what their expression of “church” provides for their lives.
A “good church” is supposed to be doing something for my family, offering a good program to keep my teens off the street, get me around some other good christians, give me a good taste of christianize music and some Bible mottos for my refrigerator magnets. How much my ‘connection’ with the Body of Christ positions me to produce isn’t in the discussion. How much my kingdom leadership develops God-given purpose sounds like something for the super-saints when it is the norm that Jesus established.
Jesus established a kingdom that consistently and immediately provides what you need here and now to become the person God created you to be so you can do what God called you to do. Jesus remains completely involved in this kingdom while seated at the right of the Father.