Examples of spiritual discernment in dreams, plus how our relationship with Jesus can grow through biblical dream interpretation.
How do we recognise God’s presence in dreams?
I have previously written about how Jesus Christ has appeared in my dreams; but how did I know it was Him?
In this article I reflect on the relationship with God I have gained through my dream journey, and how my spiritual discernment has grown – with real dream examples.
I approach dream interpretation from a biblical perspective. My belief is that our dreams can come from God, and understanding them is best understood within the context of an ongoing relationship with Him.
As a follower of Jesus Christ, I do believe that Jesus is God, who became man, died, rose again, and now relates to us constantly through His Spirit. Therefore, in this article I frequently use the terms Jesus and God interchangeably.
Recognising Jesus in our dreams
I have previously written about how God has appeared in my dreams – including meeting Jesus. But how did I know it was really Him? How do we know if our dreams are from God in general?
This is a common question for most of us, when we start trying to understand our dreams. As someone who has been a follower of Jesus Christ for more than 40 years, and interpreted dreams for over 15 of those, I am speaking from what I’ve learnt from my own experience.
I have read the bible regularly as part of my daily devotional time for most of my life. That really helps, because from that I have gained a good sense of God’s character, and the way He has related to people in the past.
Reading the bible regularly gives us a good sense of God’s character.
In addition to knowing the bible, there are some other important spiritual foundations we can put into place to aid our spiritual discernment. I recommend that you read the following article which explains what they are:
5 foundational lifestyle habits that can help you receive and understand more dreams from God.
Dream work as time with God
Building on those foundations, I also treat dream work as a spiritual discipline:
I journal and pray through my dreams regularly – most mornings in fact, and I have developed an daily relationship with God through doing so. We have various themes running though my dreams; we have shared jokes and ongoing conversation threads.
I sometimes ask God questions and He provides the answers in dreams (although it usually takes me a while to unravel the answers!).
I have also come to recognise God’s presence. When I wake up and reflect on my dreams, I can usually identify whether God was in the dream, and the thoughts that have come from Him. I also find that I have a sense that something is wrong if all or part of a dream is not from God.
I have come to recognise God’s presence in my dreams, and how He relates to me.
We need to know God personally
This inner sense is something that needs to be honed over time, but is worth developing. If you pursue dreams as part of your relationship with God, you will come to recognise how He relates to you personally.
For me, I have discovered that laughter is one of the defining characteristics of how God relates to me. He always seems to be laughing or smiling! Even when I am being corrected, or shown to be falling short, it is always done with a hopeful glint in the eye and a sense of lovingkindness.
Two dreams of Jesus
To illustrate this point, I’m going to share two dreams which I had in 2018, where I seemingly encountered Jesus:
Dream 1: Meeting a false Jesus
I had this first one at New Year, and it woke me up in the middle of the night with my heart pounding!
I was in my son’s bedroom , which was arranged how it used to be years ago. I was thinking how hard it had been, struggling to know God. I felt I just needed to see Jesus’ eyes. Jesus came into the room and comforted me. I was suspicious as he was like a classic Jesus in religious films. I said, ‘Go away and come back later if you are genuine’.
The next scene was our hallway, at the current time. Jesus came back. I asked if he was the real Jesus and he said yes. I considered how to test him. I asked if he died for me (thinking I needed to see the marks on his hands and feet). He immediately changed his manner upon realising that I was not going to just accept him without question and said, ‘I died for no one’. I realised it was not really Jesus and ordered him to leave.
Interpretation: This dream was at New Year, and set the tone for the whole of 2018 for me . It was telling me that I had embraced a false ‘religious’ image of Jesus in the past, and now it was time to leave that behind.
Dream 2: Meeting the real Jesus
The following dream was a few months later:
Myself and some others were driving home in a car. We kept getting messages to pull over and I was shouting. Eventually I pulled us over to the right. Jesus came to meet us. I knew it was really Him this time, because He made a joke, and I recognised his sense of humour. I gave him a hug/squeeze. He explained the way ahead and told us he had a plan. We set off up a different road with Jesus helping us.
Interpretation: I believe this was a real encounter with Jesus. Since the previous dream I had left work and devoted much of my time to seeking God and just being with Him. This dream was an affirmation of that choice, and confirming that Jesus would be with me as my life took a different direction.
I still remember the wonderful feeling I had when I met Jesus in that dream. I get the same feeling when I talk to Him in prayer as I go about my life.
These two dreams illustrate how we can have an inbuilt sense, in our dreams, of whether someone is good or not, and whether they are genuine. Our spirit seems to know what is good. It is worth paying close attention to the atmosphere, and how we feel about the people we meet in them.
Recognising Jesus while awake
A positive side effect of getting to know God through my dreams, is that I find it easier to recognise Him in other situations.
Hearing Jesus through a ‘picture’
For example, one time last year I was out on a walk with some friends. We came to a blocked path and had to make a big diversion. We then got to a point where thought we might be lost – which is no joke when you’re on foot, as a detour could take miles. So after a few more twists and turns to navigate we became quite anxious.
I turned my thoughts to prayer and immediately had a ‘picture’ in my mind of Jesus laughing! I shared this with the others. I said, ‘I don’t know why Jesus is laughing, but I’m pretty sure he’s not worried, so I don’t think we need to be.’
I had a ‘picture’ in my mind of Jesus laughing.
About thirty seconds later we popped out onto a big path, exactly at the end of the diversion! Jesus was laughing because He could see all along how near we were, and He wanted me to see the funny side of it too. We did share a laugh!
Jesus on The Chosen TV series
Earlier on this year, myself and a number of others from my church watched the series called ‘The Chosen’. If you haven’t seen it yet, it is a TV series based on the life of Jesus – but unlike anything I have seen before. You can stream it directly from The Chosen App.
The Chosen’s portrayal of Jesus is the closest I’ve ever seen to the real Jesus that I have a friendship with. He laughs, he has fun with His friends. He knows when to make a joke and when to be serious.
Check it out and see what you think – it might help you catch the feeling of the loving, funny side of God. This is vefry much like the Jesus that I know – and you can know too!
Here is a brief YouTube glimpse into The Chosen TV series, to give you a taste of the atmosphere, and it includes the details at the end if you want to go on and watch it:
A poem about Jesus laughing
Last year I spent many hours learning to journal with God by asking Him a question, and then writing down what I feel He is saying in reply. (There is a good book about this called 4 keys to Hearing God’s Voice by Mark and Patti Virkler. I often use this tool to pray through my dreams, as well as in my general prayer time.)
I often have the impression that God is laughing, so one day I asked the question, ‘Why are you laughing, Lord?’ I journaled His reply, a summary of which is recorded below. I think this is not just to me – it is a personal message from God to all of you too.
I hope you are blessed by this, so read on and enjoy!
Now, more than ever, we need to hear from God personally and take steps to position ourselves to listen to Him. We need to know His perspective and have the hope that He brings.
We have seen how dreams can help us connect with God – if we make them a regular part of our relationship with Him, and have some solid spiritual foundations in place.
I have shared how I have come to know a Jesus who laughs – and can recognise His presence in my dreams and in waking life through experience.
I hope you feel encouraged to press on and get to know God personally for yourself – and learn to recognise Him in your dreams and while awake too.
If you’d like to know God better but are not sure where to start, do get in touch and I’d love to help!
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I hope you found this article helpful. If you want to know more, do subscribe to emails to receive regular dream interpretation tips.
The purpose of this blog is to provide solid biblical foundations for interpreting dreams, change mindsets in the church, and encourage others to make their own dream journey. I am primarily a writer and bible teacher – who loves dreams, and I hope you will be inspired to learn to interpret your own dreams.
It is not currently my aim to routinely engage in dream interpretations or provide training, except through writing blog posts. You can read my most up to date position on interpreting dreams here: Requests for dream interpretations.
If you have benefited from my articles and/or my help with dream interpretation and would like to show your appreciation, please consider making a donation.
Thank you very much for your support!
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- Dream interpretation and the bible: Knowing God’s heart and ways
- Dream symbols: Teeth and what they mean
- Why January is a good time to review your dreams
- New year reflection: Do you see what I see?
- Why biblical dream interpretation is like solving a wordle puzzle