John Piper Says God Might Use Dreams to ‘Test Us’ or ‘Terrify Us With Warnings to Keep Us Back from Sin’

How should Christians respond to unwanted sexual dreams?

John Piper warns that God sometimes uses dreams to “terrify us with warnings in order to humble our pride and keep us back from sin.”

In an episode of “Ask Pastor John” posted to desiringGod.org, the American Reformed Baptist pastor replied to a reader inquiring about why he has “lucid sexual dreams with people other than my wife.”

“These dreams bother me intensely even after I wake up because I can’t help but feel that I have sinned, and even worse, I feel as if I had no control over it as with most of my dreams,” the reader said.

While acknowledging he doesn’t know why such dreams occur, Piper identified four passages of Scripture that shed light on the way dreams work.

First, dreams can deliver false messages, Piper said, citing Zechariah 10:2.

“There is such a thing as false dreams,” he explained. “There are false meanings. Dreams come, and they deliver false messages to us.

“My first exhortation is, say to the Lord and to the dream and to the devil, ‘That was a false dream. It does not mean I am unfaithful. I mean to be faithful to my wife. I am not unfaithful to her. Those dreams are a lie.’ So say that on the basis of the reality of the Bible that there is such a thing as a false dream.”

Second, dreams can test us (Deuteronomy 13:1–3), Piper said, adding, “God uses false prophets and lying dreams, even accompanied by supernatural signs and wonders, to test His people.”

“It’s not wrong while these dreams are tormenting you to say, ‘Dreams, Satan, brain, hormones, whatever you are, I won’t be sucked in by this. I see how my faith is being tested here. Do I love my wife? Do I love purity? Do I love holiness? Do I love Christ, who died to make me pure? Yes, I do. I will not be undone by this test. I will pass it by faith in the blood of Jesus to cover all my sins, to empower me to walk in the truth,’” he continued.

Third, dreams can reveal our desires (Isaiah 29:7–8) and fourth, they can warn us, according to the theologian.

“God really does use dreams to terrify us with warnings in order to humble our pride and keep us back from sin,” Piper said. “But if that’s true, one way to look at sexually illicit dreams — dreams when you’re doing illicit things in the dream — is that God is terrifying us in our dreams of the horror of this prospect in real life, so that we won’t do it.”

“Will the dream have its God-appointed effect of humbling us, frightening us about our own bent to sinning? And will we lay hold on Him for purity in waking life?” he asked.

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SOURCE: Christian Post, Leah MarieAnn Klett