There are, according to John Piper, several possible reasons we have sex dreams. They could be warnings from God to “terrify us,” he explained.
The reformed Baptist pastor addressed sexual dreams during a recently released episode of his podcast “Ask Pastor John,” during which he responds to reader inquiries about theological issues.
Piper was answering a question from a reader who wanted to know why he is having “lucid sexual dreams with people other than my wife,” noting such dreams make him feel like he has “sinned,” though he has no control over them.
In response, the 73-year-old theologian offered up four Scripture passages that shed light on the issue at hand.
Piper said they could be dreams delivering false messages that are counter-scriptural, citing Zechariah 10:2, which reads, “Household gods give worthless advice, fortune-tellers predict only lies, and interpreters of dreams pronounce falsehoods that give no comfort. So my people are wandering like lost sheep; they are attacked because they have no shepherd.”
“My first exhortation is to say to the Lord and to the dream and to the devil, ‘That was a false dream. It does not mean I am unfaithful. I mean to be faithful to my wife. I am not unfaithful to her. Those dreams are a lie,’” he said. “So say that on the basis of the reality of the Bible that there is such a thing as a false dream.”
Dreams can also be tests, according to Piper, who referred to Deuteronomy 13:1-3, which reads, “Suppose there are prophets among you or those who dream dreams about the future, and they promise you signs or miracles, and the predicted signs or miracles occur. If they then say, ‘Come, let us worship other gods’ — gods you have not known before — do not listen to them. The Lord your God is testing you to see if you truly love him with all your heart and soul.”
“It’s not wrong while these dreams are tormenting you to say, ‘Dreams, Satan, brain, hormones, whatever you are, I won’t be sucked in by this. I see how my faith is being tested here. Do I love my wife? Do I love purity? Do I love holiness? Do I love Christ, who died to make me pure? Yes, I do. I will not be undone by this test. I will pass it by faith in the blood of Jesus to cover all my sins, to empower me to walk in the truth,’” the pastor said.
Our dreams can also reveal our true — and even latent — desires, Piper argued.
To make his case, the well-known author pointed out Isaiah 29:8, which reads, “A hungry person dreams of eating but wakes up still hungry. A thirsty person dreams of drinking but is still faint from thirst when morning comes. So it will be with your enemies, with those who attack Mount Zion.”
Lastly, Piper said, God could be using dreams to scare and humble us in the face of potential sin — a very present danger on this side of eternity.
“God really does use dreams to terrify us with warnings in order to humble our pride and keep us back from sin,” he explained. “But if that’s true, one way to look at sexually illicit dreams — dreams when you’re doing illicit things in the dream — is that God is terrifying us in our dreams of the horror of this prospect in real life so that we won’t do it.”
To safeguard against sexually explicit dreams, Piper suggested praying earnestly for deliverance. He also urged believers to cut out any content with gratuitous sensuality — not just pornography but also TV shows and movies with “sexually stimulating content.”
“Now that’s just about all TV shows and all movies,” Piper noted. “Sorry about that; you don’t need it. Christians for 2,000 years did not feed their minds on movies every night. It won’t help you to be stirred up by so-called PG-13 movies that have sexually titillating scenes in them.”