Dreams, Revisions, and Renewal
Last week we shared about dreams, starting with the fortune from a fortune cookie: "Old dreams never die; they just get filed away."
When I first read that fortune, I immediately thought of old writing projects—novels, a novella, short stories, and poems—all filed away in boxes or cabinets in my messy office. Of course I was thinking of those things anyway, but it occurred to me that they were "old dreams." As such, what does one do with the creative work of one's past? Resurrect it, redo it, revise it, resuscitate it, or just recycle the paper and start over? Of course, one wants to believe that there is hope for the old work, after serious and possibly drastic revision.
And, of course, revision is more than editing for spelling and grammatical errors. It means to "re-see," to "re-envision" the work. You look at it from different angels and from the inside out and the outside in, re-examining the elements of its structure as well as the diction and syntax (word choice and word order).
It can result in a reversal of thought or a re-arrangement of parts. Often that is what needs to happen to a dream that has been filed away too long.
Interestingly, in the Greek, the word translated "repent" in the King James Version of the New Testament (in most verses), means "to think differently afterward; to reconsider" (according to Strong's Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible.) In speaking of repentance for sin or wrong-doing, then, it means to re-think one's actions, to reconsider one's motives, and to make a change (often referred to as "to do a 180 degree turn around").
So the ideas of revision and repentance are somewhat similar. Both involve making necessary changes. Both are encompassed in the "renewal" process, which is where the change is made. "To renew" is, of course, "to restore, to renovate, to rebuild" (active) and "to be made new" (passive).
In the Bible, we see many instances of such renewal, sometimes in connection with repentance and other times in connection with waiting on the Lord, re-seeing the dreams or hopes He has given us.
Our spirit (personality and eternal life-force) can be renewed (Psalm 51:10); our youth can be renewed (Psalm 103: 5); our strength can be renewed (Isaiah 40: 31); our mind (mental process and thinking) can be renewed (Romans 12: 2 and Ephesians 4: 23); our nature can be renewed (2 Corinthians 4: 16 and Colossians 3: 10), specifically in regards to the new nature that we have through faith in Jesus Christ; and our days can be renewed (Lamentations 5: 21).
That pretty much covers the whole person. Notice that dreams which God gives us do not need to be renewed. We just need to remember them.
This is in stark contrast to the dreams and night visions that our own minds concoct. In the Bible, those are spoken of as being transitory—they flee away the moment a person wakes, or soon thereafter. But dreams given by God (while awake or asleep) will come to pass, just as they did for the prophets of old.
This is because the dreams which God gives are through the Holy Spirit, the third person of the Triune Godhead. Joel 2: 28 (quoted in Acts 2: 17) promised the outpouring of the Holy Spirit; this outpouring was fulfilled in Acts 2: 1-21. So we can now rely on the dreams which God gives us. And the dreams that He gives us will never contradict His word. That's how we can tell the source of the dream.
In the sense of a dream as a hope, plan, or desired outcome, God's dreams for us are good. The Hebrew/English interlinear translates Jeremiah 29: 11 like this: "For I know the purposes which I am planning for you, says Jehovah; purposes of peace and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope." For the believer, this is a marvelous promise, a glorious hope.
The apostle Paul wrote to Christians that, "It is God who works in you both to will and to do according to His good pleasure (purpose)"—Philippians 2: 13. This means that God gives us the dreams and hopes that He wants us to have and then brings them to pass in our lives, according to his ultimate purpose, which is to bless us.
That kind of dream doesn't grow old. Nor should it be filed away.
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