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How can we tell if a dream is from God? (© Shutterstock; David Arts)

It would be naive and irresponsible to suggest that all spiritual dreams result in a true God connection. Dreamers who mistake their own subconscious thoughts or even demonic influence as divine instruction can make grim and historic mistakes. Recently a woman in a rural village sacrificed her child in the river out of obedience to what she thought was a dream from God. So how can you discern whether a dream is from God?

  1. It’s biblical. Make sure it doesn’t contradict the Bible. Scripture forbids many kinds of spiritism, including sorcery and consulting psychics (see Lev. 19:31, Deut. 18:10-13). It’s a good idea to get counsel from a trusted pastor or Bible teacher.
  2. It’s convicting. “Usually, when you are very in tune with spiritual things, if you have a dream you are convicted by it,” says Abraham Sarker, author of Understand My Muslim People. (See Is. 6:1-6.)
  3. It lingers. Unlike most dreams that fade from memory, a dream from God lingers and might bother you until it fulfills its purpose. 
  4. It comes to pass. Many dream conversions are based on testimonies of people whose dreams literally come true, as in the account of Saul and Ananias (Acts 9:10-19). An aid worker tells about a woman in Indochina who cried when she first met the worker’s friend. She recognized the man from a dream she had. In the dream, this man told her he had a message for her. “So she talked with him, and he led her to the Lord,” says the worker. This type of experience is commonly reported in the underground church.

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