Bible Study · Relationship with Christ

How To Interpret Dreams

When someone has a dream and wonders what it means, do they come to us or do we come to them? Where do we seek answers?

I can’t tell you the number of times someone has asked me what I think of their dream, and I do not pray first.

It’s tempting to jump in and give our opinions. It’s tempting for us to see a “problem” and we use our own knowledge to give a solution.

Even if…the person didn’t ask for one.

Two weeks ago I started to write a post covering a blogger suggestion asking if I could explain how to discern dreams. Now, as soon as I started the post, God made me stop. It was very evident before I could even get to the idea of discerning dreams, people needed to understand the significance of dreams.

Which Is:

  • Not everyone’s dreams will be used by God.
  • God does use dreams as a way to warn and to communicate.
  • Dream meaning may not apply to an individual, but for many people (like the Church, etc).

If you are unsure of dreams relating to scripture and God, the previous post I wrote, is packed in scripture. I try my best to only share the truth and what God Himself says.

Post | How & Why Are Dreams Used By God

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Dreams are complicated. They can be cryptic. They can be what our mind is trying to work out.

I’m going to say this again.

  • NOT EVERY DREAM WILL BE USED BY GOD!

People can have nightmares and night terrors but that does not mean it’s from God. 

As I shared in the first post, anyone who accepts Jesus Christ, repents and follows Him, will discover that they have a unique set of gifts and talents that are used for the glory of God and to further His kingdom. (1 Corinthians 12:04)

Post | Gifts From The Holy Spirit

Two of those gifts are discernment and knowledge.

Discernment is the ability to have strong insight, observation, knowledge, and understanding. Remember, we are talking about spiritual discernment. We may not have any indicators prior but we know something or we keep getting a sense of something that cannot be explained.

Spiritual gifts mean just that. These gifts are refined and crafted, not by us, but the Holy Spirit. Spiritual discernment in dreams helps us with the ability to pick out key factors. Spiritual knowledge, God gives us insight. He provides. It is important to note that we may not have the gift of spiritual discernment and knowledge. That doesn’t mean God still can’t teach us through dreams. 

Seek God Not Other Sources!

Christians DO NOT need a list of symbols and symbol interpretation when it comes to dreams.

I’m not against looking up word definitions or, for example, if you dreamt of a lion and you looked up scriptures regarding a lion, I don’t think that’s wrong.

But most dream interpretation books and websites are not aimed at Christians.  Secular symbolism often connects to zodiac and animal totems, as well as persuasive meaning, etc. A whole bunch of things we need to stay away from. I’ve found only one site that is specifically aimed for Christians, but even then, we have to be wary.

The reason is simple… God.

We need to seek God first, not symbolic meaning.

If God wants us to understand something He will provide it. Spiritual gifts come from Him. A “spiritual” book of interpretations doesn’t have to come from God. We can’t justify, “Well, God can use the book,” no, we use the book! We chose the book because it’s easier. We chose the book or source of interpretation because… we’re curious. That is a poison waiting for us to drink it.  

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There are only two books I could recommend to you regarding dream interpretation.

  1. The Bible
  2. A Notebook

How To Discern Dreams

Let’s be clear. Not everyone will be able to discern dreams. 

I think this is a lie the world gives us because it makes us rely on ourselves and our abilities. But as I’ve shared spiritual awareness comes from the Holy Spirit, not us. We may not be given spiritual awareness on our dreams. 

This probably sounds conflicting because I don’t think I’ve ever run into someone who didn’t try to interpret their dream in one way or another. I think it’s kinda hard not to. But just for this moment, please cast aside what you think you know regarding dream discernment as a Christian.

1. Pray For Guidance & Lift Up Negative Feelings

Some dreams are really intense and they can leave a person in shock or fear for a while upon waking. Immediately start praying and crying out to the Lord for His hand. Praise Him. Lift Him up. He is our refuge and strength (Psalm 46:01)

If you are not the one who had the dream but are preparing to listen or read, pray that God gives you guidance.

2. Write Down Your Dream (Or Listen To Someone’s Dream If They Are Sharing)

The sooner you record your dream, the easier it is to make sure you have as many details as possible. It helps to have a journal specifically used for dream recording.

If you are reading/listening to someone share their dream it’s crucial you stop yourself from trying to make immediate connections. I’m guilty of this. All we need to be doing at this point is simply listen because if we are half-listening/reading about someone’s dream we may miss important factors.

3. Pray About It

Yep. Give the dream itself to God.

  • ask for His guidance and help to refrain from relying on what you know
  • ask that He gives you indicators on things that matter
  • ask for His understanding
  • give Him the dream, tell Him about it
4. Go To God’s Word & Read

You do not need to read anywhere specifically unless you feel led. But dive into the Bible. Scripture is our food and both our offense and defense in war. (Matthew 4:04, Ephesians 6:17) Maybe you won’t immediately find something that relates to your dream or someone else’s dream, but this time with the Lord is important, and you need to be prepared.

Write down any scripture that stands out to you. It may relate to the dream or it may not. It may be something you need to hear that day.

5. Connections/ Discernment / Sharing With Someone

Always leave this last.

This is where you could look up scripture with specific words or word meaning (NOT symbolic meaning from secular souces! I know this is tempting!) Look at your dream and look at parallels in scripture. Write these down.

If the dream touches on something regarding our own life, we need to critically look at parallels in the dream and scripture, writing it down. We also need to be honest about our life. Being lukewarm, for example, could be shown through the symbol of a sandcastle in a dream. As scripture talks about the wise man and the foolish man. (Matthew 7:26)

Biblical symbols as with the sand and being lukewarm (not on the right foundation) can be extremely different than worldly symbols.

But always be aware the dream may not only apply to us. Or someone’s dream may not only apply to them.

In the same way, we apply our life experience to scripture, maybe there is something in your dream that can teach you more about scripture. God can use anything as a teaching tool, but that doesn’t mean He will always give us insight about the end of times or give us messages/warnings in a dream. It may not relate to that at all, and we need to be okay with that. 

Always spend time with the Lord before sharing with others, especially on a public post.

I hope this has encouraged you to seek God first in all things and in all ways. I’m working on this, too.

There is one last topic regarding dream interpretation that needs to be covered, and that regards understanding dreams may not always be what we think and when we shouldn’t interpret.

Comment Below:
What do you think?

Monthly Scripture – (NLT) Proverbs 29:19, “Words alone will not discipline a servant; the words may be understood, but they are not heeded.”

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