How did you meet Jesus? Your story, no doubt, is different than mine. Each of us has a unique journey to God the Father, who then takes us on an incredible adventure of learning more about who He is. Click here to read my last article on that topic.
No matter who you are or what your past looks like, deeper intimacy with Jesus includes some common themes. Your journey and mine look the same in a few key ways.
Jesus Is the Gate
For instance, the only gate that leads to God is Jesus Himself. When it comes to dreams, visions, prophetic ministry, miracles or any other supernatural phenomenon, the only safe place is Jesus. We start with relationship with Jesus; we keep our focus on Him, and all our spiritual activity leads us into deeper relationship with Him.
In addition, the God we serve is a God who speaks. He calls Himself the Word, so we can naturally assume He likes to talk! God is relational. He is not looking for robots or slaves but for friends (John 15:15).
Surrender and Change
When God gets involved in our lives, He does not leave us the same. The supernatural activity we encounter through His Spirit is intended to make us more like Jesus. When we hear His voice, the only appropriate response is to surrender to His will and change our lives so we line up with what He has revealed. Again, we do this not as slaves who are forced or compelled, but as friends who care for His heart and realize He is the expert in life. His ideas about how to live will be much better than ours, so we follow Him.
Those are some of the common ways God draws us closer to Him. You may be surprised, but He also uses dreams.
Building Intimacy With God Through Dreams
"For God speaks once, yes twice, yet man does not perceive it. In a dream, in a vision of the night, when deep sleep falls upon men, in slumber on their beds, then He opens the ears of men, and seals their instruction" (Job 33:14-16).
How does God speak through dreams? Is it possible to hear His voice and grow closer to Him through a dream?
In Genesis 15, God established His covenant with Abraham and prophesied Israel's time in Egypt. To communicate these things to Abraham, He used a dream. Verse 12 says Abraham was in "a deep sleep" when God spoke to him. Abraham, the father of our faith, is the first person Scripture calls a friend of God, and in a pivotal moment, God used a dream to speak with him.
Genesis is the book of beginnings and carries the first picture God gave us of relationship with Him. In the midst of the beautiful narrative He tells in Genesis, dreams play a major role:
- Abimelech dreamed about Abraham (Gen. 20).
- God appeared to Isaac at night in Beersheba. (This might have been a dream; see Gen. 26:23-25).
- Jacob had a dream at Bethel where he saw God and received the same promise as his fathers (Gen. 28:11-22).
- Jacob obtained strategy for wealth through a dream when God told him how to increase the spotted and speckled flocks (Gen. 31:10-13).
- In a dream Laban was warned not to harm Jacob (Gen. 31:24).
- Joseph had two dreams, interpreted at least two dreams in prison, and interpreted Pharaoh's two dreams (Gen. 37:5-10, 40:5-19, 41:1-36).
I find it interesting that the promise God gave to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob—the promise that is foundational to our faith, the promise God referenced so often throughout Scripture—was given to them in dreams, or at least at night in Isaac's case. Dreams are not the only way God speaks, but even a quick glance at Genesis reveals they are an important way He speaks.
Responding to Dreams from God
Since God chooses to speak to us through dreams, how should we respond? If we do three key things, we will start to recognize His voice in the night:
- Adopt a biblical perspective on dreams
- Value dreams
- Expect God to speak to us through dreams.
As we do these things, we will find what Abraham, Isaac and Jacob found. Our intimacy with God will increase; we will come to know Him more and more, and it will become apparent to us that dreams are one of the relationship tools He uses to draw us closer to Him.
John E. Thomas is the president of Streams Ministries and the co-author of The Art of Praying the Scriptures: A Fresh Look at Lectio Divina with John Paul Jackson. Teaching on prophetic ministry, dream interpretation and the kingdom of God, he travels internationally and works to help restore the awe of God to a world that has lost its wonder. John and his wife, Dawna, live outside of Dallas, Texas.
If you want to learn more about dreams and dream interpretation, check out John's newest resource, Dream Foundations, which will be released July 11 on streamsministries.com.
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