I had a dream last night, a strange dream. In it Mark and I were at a public swimming bath, and when we got into the water, all the water drained away. In the dream I knew that this was a ‘manifestation of the presence of God’ and felt quite excited by it. All the people in the pool were naturally perturbed, wondering where the water had gone, so we got out and the water came back into the pool and the level rose again. I was curious and went back to the pool side to see what would happen, to see if it really was us that had caused this phenomenon, and sure enough, right by where I had gone to stand, the water started to recede from me. Satisfied that it was me that was causing this, I stood back again and the water came back and filled the swimming bath back up to the edge again.
I nearly dismissed this as just a random dream, but then as I jokingly shared it with Mark, and later looked in my journal I realised that the Lord was speaking to me. I had been musing on the encouragement that the apostle John sent to those early Christians about the spiritual battles they were in. He was writing about the false spirits and the spirit of antichrist which he said was already in the world, and he tells them, ‘You are from God, little children, and have overcome them; because greater is He (the One) that is in you than he (the one) who is in the world.’ 1 John 4:4.NASB
Now I have always read that as a comforting encouragement of a defensive kind. That whatever comes against me I won’t be overcome because Jesus is within me, and He is bigger than anything that the world – or the devil – can throw at me. And this is true. However I realised, from the dream last night, that the Lord was saying something much bigger than that through John. His encouragement to the early church, living in a spiritually hostile world, – and therefore also to us in our world today –, was about being on the offensive. It was not merely an encouragement about defense, that we won’t be overcome by any enemy activity in the world, but that we, with Christ in us, were to be the overcomers by releasing His kingdom into the world around us.
I think that in the dream the water represented the atmosphere in the world created by ‘the prince of this world’, John 14:30. When we stepped into the pool that atmosphere drained away, because the atmosphere released from us, because of the presence of God within, was greater. I believe the Lord was saying that He wants us, His people, to realise how spiritually powerful we really are. We, because the Lord is with us and in us, can by faith release His Kingdom blessings over people and places, and displace the atmospheres and trouble created by the enemy.
Jesus expected that this would be true of the disciples when He sent them out two by two. Remember that He said to them, “When you enter a house, first say, “Peace to this house”. If a man of peace is there, your peace will rest on him; if not, it will return to you”. Luke 10:5? Clearly even prior to Pentecost Jesus was indicating that the disciples would be releasing the atmosphere of heaven – ‘Peace’ – and if it was welcomed it would make a difference. How much more should we, who are living after the cross and Pentecost, be expectant of things to change when we enter a home or a place of work.
Those disciples were operating under an anointing from the Lord, but had yet to be ‘clothed with power from on high,’ as the Lord Himself promised, Luke 24:48. After Pentecost they had so much power being released from them that people only had to come within shadow range of Peter to get healed Acts 5:15. Clearly God’s indwelling power from within was spilling over, as it was with Paul, where handkerchiefs and aprons that had touched him, carried the healing presence of God from Paul to the sick. Acts 19:12.
Does it all seem just too much to believe today? Well I have deliberately written out the quote from John’s epistle (above) from the NASB, because it more accurately uses the phrase from the Greek, ‘little children’, rather than the NIV, ‘dear children’. He addressed those Christians as ‘little children’, and so this is not about us feeling, big and brave, mature, clever or very spiritual. This is about us believing, like little children, that what our heavenly Father says is true, ‘Greater is He that is in you than he who is in the world’, and acting accordingly.
I believe the Lord was speaking through this dream, so let us thank Him in every situation that we find ourselves that, ‘greater is He who is in us than he who is in the world’. As we do that we will be exercising and growing our faith, and I believe that we will begin to see some answers to our own prayers ‘Your Kingdom come on earth, now, here and in this place, as it is in heaven’. Amen.