I woke up rattled.
A haze of drifting thoughts fading away.
The fog of subconscious dreaming now settling into a new day.
This wasn’t the first time I woke up from a dream that overwhelmed me. A dream that seemed so real. A dream that came out of left field. Manifesting out of the deep confinements of my sub-conscience. Tempting me again.
I quickly went on with my morning. Music playing. Make-up and hair-brushes twirling. Windows open, awakening the darkness of a loft apartment. Today’s a new day. Primed with laughter, adventure and newness. Light breaks in.
But in the night it came again.
In the depths of my sleep.
Dream after dream.
Sporadically they plague.
Without warning they haunt.
Dreams of those I cared for.
Dreams of ones I once knew.
Thoughts I’ve fought hard to overcome.
In my dreams we meet again.
In many ways I wish they’d leave me. These dreams. These stories. This seduction. This temptation. I can’t control them. Even those I’ve not thought of at all find their way back to me in my dreams.
Do you ever experience this?
Do you find yourself having dreams when you go to sleep of people from your past?
Not all dreams are a threat. But some are.
And sometimes what you’ve overcome attracts temptation.
As someone who used to struggle with lust and fantasy and has overcome that sin cycle, I know this sin can be broken. I know it’s possible to win the war on sexual purity in the mind. By the grace of God He rescued me from that bondage. And I feel empowered to help others do the same.
Yet now, as I’ve made progress and gained victory I’ve started to have dreams that stir up romantic feelings. It’s strange really. I never used to have them like this. I would just daydream in real life.
In years past, this was an incredibly addictive behavior. I used to daydream about love and romance all the time. But I learned the hard way it doesn’t fulfill. It only kills.
Through a very heartbreaking and painful season, God broke me of this sin of lust and fantasy. It hurt so much I cannot bring myself to do it anymore. It wreaked havoc on my actual life. And taught me that fantasizing about what’s not real destroys what is real. And I don’t want to drink that poison anymore. Closeness with Jesus is so much better. Victory feels empowering. Purity is so much sweeter. By the grace of God, He’s cleansed me. By His kindness, He keeps making me new every day.
But once you’re living in freedom, you attract resistance.
The forces of darkness don’t want you to make progress in your life with God and want to tempt you back into the chains God freed you from. The enemy will strive to awaken your flesh once again. And seduce you to give in after all this time of being free.
Dream after dream.
Stories dance in the dark.
Eyes gaze with enchantment.
Like ghosts they fade away.
They fade away.
Now I live in freedom from sexual fantasy and lust.
But my dreams try to tempt me back into it.
I’ll wake up from a dream about someone and feel reconnected to that person all over again. It started slow. And I didn’t notice it much at first and would easily forget the dreams and not be affected. But over time it’s attacked more and more. Some are subtle dreams. Some persist over and over again. Some are more seductive and sexual. And I wake up confused over something I’ve fought so hard to overcome now plaguing me when I’m most vulnerable. When my mind is at rest.
I won’t give in though.
I’ll let it fade away.
The story isn’t real.
These ghosts aren’t here to stay.
Fade into the night, ghosts.
Fade into the gray.
Every time I go to sleep I wake up.
I wake up.
What’s your struggle that you’ve fought so hard to overcome? Do you find temptation all around you reeling you back in to that lifestyle?
Temptation only attacks when we’re fighting to live in purity… victory… freedom.
This means you’re making progress!
Temptation doesn’t affect you when you’re already indulging in destructive behavior. I didn’t see temptation when I was willingly indulging in lust and fantasy. I just did it. The enemy doesn’t need to tempt you then. That is instead the time God steps in to work overtime to rescue you. And He will! By His grace and power God can rescue you from your struggle if you seek Him and ask Him to help you. But I want to encourage those of you who are experiencing strong temptation in a certain area of your life… an area that you’ve fought hard to overcome. And now the temptation to turn back and give in is stronger. It’s okay. The existence of temptation is evidence of your progress.
I’m realizing these dreams are a form of spiritual attack on the progress I’ve made in this area of my life.
So I have to be intentional about not letting these dreams affect the way I think in real life.
Don’t let your temptation make you feel like you’ve lost. If you do, it will be much easier to give in to it because you’ll already feel like you failed. I have to remind myself every time I have one of these dreams that my thoughts in these dreams were not thoughts I willingly entertained. And every time I wake up, I do just that. I wake up. I clear my head of those thoughts and remain in the progress I’ve already been making. And go about my day.
Temptation can lead to sin but it doesn’t have to.
What helps me is clinging to the progress I’ve made and focusing on Jesus so that it naturally becomes easier to not focus on other behaviors.
No temptation will ever satisfy like freedom.
When God transforms your soul, the destructive tendencies that used to satisfy no longer do.
With God’s help, we can choose to live by the Spirit and not the flesh.
“The mind governed by the flesh is death, but the mind governed by the Spirit is life and peace.”
Freedom tastes sweeter and sweeter every day.
By the power of God and His Holy Spirit you can fight whatever battle you face and will continue to be victorious over the temptations striving to ruin the progress you’re making. When you seek God by His spirit, you gain access to supernatural power to overcome any obstacle.
This is a spiritual battle and it must be waged with spiritual armor.
Fortunately, God already equipped us through His Holy Spirit with what we need to demolish these kinds of spiritual attacks. The apostle Paul talks about this in his second letter to the Corinthians.
“For though we walk in the flesh, we are not waging war according to the flesh. For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy strongholds. We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ”
2 Corinthians 10:3-5
The temptations to fantasize again may manifest in a dream.
But God is there to help me overcome.
We can do this by taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ! Remember how far you’ve come and that it’s not worth it to backtrack away from the purpose and calling that lies ahead of you.
Your destiny may attract a spiritual war against you but it will not prevail!
You may ask, how?
How can I overcome the temptation?
By standing firm in freedom.
Every time I dream I wake up.
I have a way out.
I wake up to a new day ahead of me with excitement, possibilities and real-life that surpasses the illusions in a seductive dream.
Every time you’re tempted, God gives you a way out.
Freedom is yours if you’ll claim it and stand in it.
“Therefore take up the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you will be able to stand your ground, and having done everything, to stand. Stand firm then.”
Whatever struggle you’re being tempted back into… I implore you to rely on the freedom you’re already standing in. And if you’re not there yet… seek God and His deliverance for your sin struggle. Pray and pray and pray. Beg God to do what only He can do to help you overcome.
Sometimes we can’t help ourselves out of the temptation. But over time, with prayer and seeking God’s help, He will free you through various situations specific to your life.
God’s rescue mission for you and your life will never stop.
Jesus will continue to walk with you through every trial and temptation. He knows we are weak. And He doesn’t expect perfection. He restores you every time, all the while moving you onward towards His purpose for your life.
Galatians 6:9 reminds us that if we do not grow weary in doing good we will reap a harvest at the right time. Keep pressing onward in faith. Believe God is with you. He cares for what you’re doing through.
And He will provide a way out eventually.
Though an uncontrollable dream may plague me in the night there is a new dawn every morning reminding me what’s real and what’s true.
I live in the day. Not the night.
I live in the light. Not the dark.
I live in what’s real. Not a dream.
I live in victory over my sin. Not in shame trying to make me go back to what I was.
You and I have a decision to make…
Will you let the temptation seduce you back into the struggle you’ve overcome? Or will you seek the Lord and His deliverance?
Ask the Lord to help you overcome. And by His Spirit find rescue from temptation.
Tonight I go back to sleep.
Dreams lie in waiting.
Whatever happens there won’t have the last word.
For every time I go to sleep I wake up.
I wake up.
Questions for Today:
- What temptation am I facing and how am I reacting to it?
- Why do I face resistance when I’m making progress?
- Is it worth the battle to be free from my sin?
- How can I stand firm in freedom?
- What next step is Jesus asking me to take in my relationship with Him today?