By Whitney Hopler, Crosswalk.com
Lucid dreaming happens when you are aware that you’re inside a dream. This results in being able to control, manipulate, or choose actions within that dream to some extent. Since having that knowledge and ability is pretty powerful, you may be concerned about whether or not it’s sinful to have lucid dreams. Is lucid dreaming a sin, or can it be used as a blessing?
Can You Control Lucid Dreaming?
Lucid dreaming can happen naturally, even when you don’t intend to lucid dream. Sometimes you may simply be able to tell that you’re dreaming while your dream is happening.
Your mind is constantly active, both while you’re awake and while you’re asleep. The content of your dreams always reflects how your mind is processing your thoughts and emotions. At times you may have some control over that process, but at other times you don’t, because you’re not always aware of your dreams. When you’re lucid dreaming, you do become aware of your dreams while they’re taking place. That awareness may help you control your dreams in some ways, for certain purposes.
Does the Bible Ever Mention Lucid Dreaming? (Or Anything Like It?)
The Bible mentions many incidents of God communicating to people through dreams. While the Bible never specifically mentions lucid dreaming, some of the vivid dreams it describes may have been lucid dreams.
King Solomon seems quite lucid while carrying on a conversation with God during a dream (1 Kings 3). The “Jacob’s ladder” dream from Genesis 28 seems to involve Jacob being especially conscious of the fact that God and his holy angels are present during the dream. Another instance of lucid dreaming may be the dream that Jesus’ earthly father, Joseph, has in which God instructs him to leave Israel and go to Egypt with his family. God tells Joseph what he needs to do to protect young Jesus from King Herod’s plans to kill him. Immediately afterward, Joseph gets up and obeys God’s directions. His dream had been so clear that he didn’t need to spend time trying to interpret it before taking action.
Is Lucid Dreaming a Sin?
There is nothing inherently sinful about lucid dreaming. Spiritually, what’s most important about lucid dreams is how you approach them. After having a Lucid dream, it can either be a sin or a blessing depending on how you choose to view it.
If you focus on lucid dreaming as a means to pursue your own agenda apart from God, you’ll fall into sin in the process. You should never use lucid dreams for divination, which the Bible cautions against in verses such as Leviticus 20:27 and Deuteronomy 18:10-12. Doing so can pull you into occult practices, opening you up to being influenced and harmed by untrustworthy spirits. Trusting God, who designed your mind, is essential when you’re dreaming.
However, what you can do is view lucid dreams as a way to seek the Holy Spirit’s guidance.
How to Approach Lucid Dreams as a Way to Help You Grow Closer to God
Lucid dreaming can help you learn more about how to perceive the wonder of God’s work in your life. In my book Wake Up to Wonder, I explore how dreams can help us experience awe that sparks our lifelong learning. You may hear from God either directly or indirectly through any type of dream – including lucid dreams. While you’re dreaming, your mind is free of distractions that may have blocked you from noticing the wonder of God’s messages while you’re awake. You’re not preoccupied by busy activities and can pay full attention to inspiration while you’re asleep and dreaming. As I describe in the book, the ways God may communicate with you in your dreams include sending you creative inspiration, guiding you to solve problems, healing you from past pain, warning you about an issue that needs attention, and encouraging you with peace or confidence.
Lucid dreaming can especially help you pay attention to the messages in your dreams. That’s because you’re aware that you’re dreaming while it’s happening and can even influence the action. Lucid dreams can help you more easily interpret the meaning of your dreams.
The Spirit, whom Jesus says serves as our counselor and advocate (John 15:26), is always ready to help you learn spiritual lessons through your dreams. Ask the Holy Spirit to help you understand your dream’s meaning, and how you should respond to the messages it presents. For example, if you’re experiencing fear in a nightmare, ask the Spirit to renew you mind and intentionally choose faith over fear.
With that in mind, always be wary to not focus or obsess too much over dreams. This can lead to the dangers of harboring an unhealthy interest in transcendental experiences, which lead away from God. Instead, view every dream through the lens of God’s sovereignty and wisdom. Assess them prayerfully and determine your true motivation for exploring those dreams.
Anyone can experience lucid dreaming without falling into sin. It’s not sinful to lucid dream, as long as you rely on God’s guidance and wisdom when processing it. You can potentially learn valuable lessons and grow closer to God through the wonder of lucid dreams when you approach them cautiously and faithfully.
Photo Credit: ©GettyImages/Aja Koska
Whitney Hopler is author of the Wake Up to Wonder book and the Wake Up to Wonder blog, which help people thrive through experiencing awe. She leads the communications work at George Mason University’s Center for the Advancement of Well-Being. Whitney has served as a writer, editor, and website developer for leading media organizations, including Crosswalk.com, The Salvation Army USA’s national publications, and Dotdash.com (where she produced a popular channel on angels and miracles). Connect with Whitney on Twitter and Facebook.