“But test everything. Keep what is good, and stay away from everything that is evil” (1 Thess. 5:21-22, NCV).
Today we finish up our discussion of the spiritual warfare we sometimes experience during sleep. Even though attacks on our dreams can be profoundly disturbing, there is abundant hope in Jesus. He always has a redemptive solution for every one of our needs! Including the very real need for safe, peaceful sleep.
(This is our very last installment for this list of pointers for processing dreams. If you are just joining us, you can find the beginning here.)
39) Ask God for discernment. Sometimes it’s hard to tell whether the dream we had was an attack. We need the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of Truth, to reveal the truth to us about it. I was recently listening to Jim Goll share about an encounter he had with a spiritual being. This spirit had a certain mysterious attractive quality about it, but he wasn’t sure whether it was good or not. So he asked it the biblical question, “Do you believe that Jesus Christ came in the flesh?” (1 John 4:2-3). It could not answer, and quickly fizzled away, disappearing from sight. Obviously, that spirit was from the enemy.
You have the same Holy Spirit that Jim Goll does. The Bible passage where he learned that question he used, 1 John 4, tells us to “test the spirits” (v. 1). I’m so encouraged by this verse. It means that you and I can successfully, by His Spirit, do just that. Not only can we, but we have the biblical responsibility to do so. If your spirit is unsure of the source of your dream, ask the Lord for discernment, and you shall receive.
40) Night terrors may reflect a need for healing and/or deliverance. If we have major unresolved vulnerabilities in our souls and spirits, this can sometimes be an opening for attacks on our dreams. This could include childhood traumas, abuse, or any number of emotional wounds. It could take the shape of unforgiveness, past involvement in the occult, or other practices forbidden in the Word of God.
Generational bondage could be another open door for these kinds of upsetting dreams. Sometimes there are issues in our family lines that need breaking off, even if we weren’t directly involved in what happened. If you suspect that any of the above is a reason for warfare happening as you sleep, I strongly encourage you to seek out a solid Spirit-filled Christian ministry with a well-known reputation for helping people with these kinds of problems. There is freedom and healing available in Jesus!
41) A troubling dream often can mean that God is granting you victory. I’ll share with you an example from my own life. I dreamed some time ago that the end of the world had come. I was in a line of the redeemed, headed into heaven. I noticed in the dream that a loved one of mine was not in the line. He had not made it. He wouldn’t be entering paradise with us.
It would be easy to be dismayed by such a dream, wouldn’t it? However, Holy Spirit has trained me not to take dreams like that as irreversible announcements of doom. On the contrary, I have learned that this kind of dream is actually an invitation to partner with Him in prayer. I didn’t take this dream as a prediction of my relative’s eternal damnation, but rather as a summons to be a part of Holy Spirit’s successful intercession for his salvation. I believe he will make it!
I have come to view dreams that feel sad or disturbing as the opposite of what they seem; I take them as precious promises from God. Know this: if He is showing you the problem, it’s because He is putting in your hands the solution. As you yield to His beckoning and allow Him to pray through you, you are becoming His vessel of redemption. Through your surrender, He will bring forth beautiful change in the lives of the people you love.
With these points, we come to the end of the list that’s been building over the last few weeks. Don’t miss the very last post for this series on Monday, which will be a surprise bonus!
Do you have any insights to share about nightmares and bad dreams? I love to hear from you!