In the days of my youth, the subject of dreams always enticed me. The idea of impossibilities becoming reality in dreams is so intriguing, that it’s no wonder that the unconscious mind has been the subject of debate, transcending all boundaries of belief, culture, and intellect. Everyone has something to say about dreams. To some, dreams are the gateway to another dimension, while to others, dreams are merely the product of a primitive, rampant imagination. Regardless of the explanation, the obvious fact remains. Dreams spark curiosity.
Perhaps it is this fascination with the new and abstractly supernatural that has caused the Christian Church to fall asleep.
Maybe it’s the fact that in dreams, there are no boundaries, no limitations. How many churches are there that are living with no boundaries or limitations, as if we served a God whose love did not constrain us? A church where “anything goes”, and as long as it feels right, it is right. The Lord has warned His people over time, that this is a dangerous way to live. Too much freedom is always dangerous.
The clearest picture that I can see of this in scripture is in the story of Jacob and Esau. “When the boys grew up, Esau was a skillful hunter, a man of the field, while Jacob was a quiet man, dwelling in tents.” (Gen. 25:27)
Esau was a free man. He did whatever he wanted. Walls restricted him, so he would spend his days outside of the confines of indoor life, because there was a particular freedom that came from that style of living. Jacob on the other hand, spends his days dwelling within the boundaries of his tent. We know from History, that the descendents of Esau become the enemy of God’s people, while the descendants of Jacob are God’s people. Within these two brothers, there is a strikingly parallel picture of two kinds of people. On one hand, there are the Esaus. The people who refuse to live their lives under the restraint and boundaries of God. The person who does whatever they want. This is dangerous, because there is a way that seems right to a man, but really leads to death. As humans, we need restraint. We need rules. As much as children complain about their teachers, they actually enjoy school more when there are rules to abide by. The biggest waste of time I experience in school was when we had a substitute teacher who gave us free days. Sure, it felt great at the time, but looking back, it was a waste, because there was no direction or limitations. Anything went.
There are churches full of Esaus, living in the field. Living in the wilderness. But God desires more for His people. Jesus came to give life, and life abundantly. But in the same way the promised land of Israel had concrete, absolute boundaries and limitations, the promised land of His presence and blessing also has its boundaries. God will not honor the wild man who lives with no rules, because this is a man who does not honor or love God. “If you love me, you will keep my commandments.” (John 14:15) Keeping His commandments implies living under His Reign and Authority.
Let us not become enticed by things that hold no substance. Dreams, however fantastic they seem, will never stand in comparison to reality. Not to say that the Lord cannot and has not used dreams to speak to people, because He has, and I’m not diminishing that. But there is a world’s difference between a lesson learned in a dream and a lesson learned while one is awake. The Lord wants a Church that is awake. A church that is conscious of what He wants to do in them, not a church who is busy roaming in this world and living outside of the boundaries He has set. The temptation to succumb to living a free life is strong, but I would rather be in chains because of Jesus, than out free without Him. Let us allow the King of Kings to reign in out heart.
Church, its time to wake up.