Decree and Declare
<<command and speak out>>
Do I know the difference?
decrees [commands]”; the result will be blessing, but punishment if there is refusal to obey (Lev 18:4,5, 26:3-46). The Psalmist prayed, “I wish I was more faithful in obeying your decrees” (Ps 119:5). By its definition, we believers cannot make decrees. Meanwhile, to ‘declare’ is to state aloud a fact, opinion or truth, through a formal or explicit statement or announcement. In the course of general life, whatever we say can be termed a declaration, yet in this article it refers to a directive or command for something to take place.
With this important yet controversial topic there must be a correct understanding of the Bible’s teaching with the truth (as in many issues) positioned between two extremes (2 Tim 2:15). Thus, we must ensure any such statements are based on a solid biblical foundation.
Some aspects to consider
Several verses are incorrectly quoted to support the wholesale or indiscriminate declaring, of what is often man’s ideas, these include: * “Calling those things which are not, as though they were” (Rom 4:17). In reality, the entire verse is “Abraham believed God, who calls those things which are not, as though they were.” Abraham had no ability to make this happen and never confessed nor declared anything. Instead, he trusted and believed God who had this ability. God who had the power declared it and made it happen. The wrong teaching here is that we can decree and declare things that presently do not exist or realities not yet realized as though they do. * You shall decree a thing and it will be established” (Job 22:28). Neither God nor Job made this statement. It was one of Job’s friends who was later rebuked by God because “you have not spoken of me what is right” (Job 42:7). Since he misunderstood the ways of God, his words are unwise counsel and so are not to be the basis of our beliefs.
We can’t just say whatever we want, we must be led by God’s Spirit so what we say is empowered by Him. Ezekiel didn’t speak life to the dry bones until God told him to (Ezek 37:4,7,9,10,12,19). Instead of seeking to force God’s hand by calling forth whatever we want, Christians should trust in the Heavenly Father who “knows exactly what you need even before you ask Him!” and be submissive to His will (Mt 6:8, 26:42).
There was no decreeing or declaring when Peter was in jail, instead the people prayed, then later when Paul and Silas were in jail, they sang praises (Act 12:5,12, 16:25). When Paul had a thorn in the flesh, he did not speak to the thorn to go away or rebuke the demon of thorns; instead, he pleaded with God in prayer (2 Cor 12:7). Jesus and Paul taught us to pray rather than make declarations (Mt 6:9-13; Phil 4:6). We are to pray “deliver us from the evil one” recognizing God is in control even over Satan, and this petition is to not let Satan have his way with us.
Be careful to declare God’s word, not our wants
can tell people we are declared righteous before God, but we certainly didn’t bring it to pass (2 Cor 5:21). It is Christ’s atonement on Calvary that makes this true. Our declarations do not produce the effect, but we can align our hearts and lifestyle with what His Word says. Our praise to God is a declaration of ‘God is great’, yet saying that He is great does not make Him great. We say it because it is so.
God says, “My Word…will accomplish what I purpose” (Isa 55:11). What He says happens. In contrast, we don’t have the power to bring things about like God does.
Positive confessions, only focuses on an individual’s personal self-centred and selfish desires. Similarly, the law of attraction is not a God approved approach.
A more biblical approach
There are numerous promises in the Bible that we can’t receive by being complacent. We actually need to be proactive by believing and speaking those promises over our lives. A key one is, “If you confess with your mouth, ‘Jesus is Lord,’ and believe in your heart…For it is with your heart you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved” (Rom 10:9,10).
Biblical declarations speak forth God’s truth
showing we are not given a free licence to decree and declare with the hope to receive whatever we desire. Sincere or solemn declarations and confessions are good and proper only if they are within biblical boundaries. The ‘name it and claim it’, ‘confess it and possess it’, and ‘blab it and grab it’ teaching considers by declaring something, it is caused to happen. This unbridled approach borders on witchcraft, even though ‘in Jesus name’ is included in this unbiblical request.
We must recognise the extent of the believer’s authority, coupled with submission to God’s will. Our faith must be exercised only within the perimeters He has established.
We are to declare and quote God's words of truth over ourselves about who we are, what we have, and what we can do in Christ Jesus who gives us strength, which is vastly different to declaring our selfish human ideas.
The Word of God should direct our speech
about will come out (Mt 11:34, 15:18,19; Lk 6:45). Declarations are the collaboration with God’s Word to speak out His truth so His will can be accomplished as opposed to presumptuously decreeing whatever we want over our lives, in the hope God will to do it. Declaring God’s Word helps to align our hearts with God’s will for when we speak His Word, His truth helps us and we begin to desire His will instead of ours.
In our humanity, we say we plan to do this and that. Yet the Bible’s counsel is “If it is the Lord’s will we will do this or that” (Jas 4:13-16). We must always be subject to Him.
All godly preaching is declaring the truth of God’s Word, either quoting it ‘word for word’ or expounding its commands and principles faithfully, not substituting personal ideas and desires. We should be declaring the gospel of our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ, “Who commands everyone to repent” (Mk 1:15; Act 17:30).
Do not accept or come under the influence of negative destructive declarations, such as the doctor’s gloomy diagnosis or when others are frustrated and angry, speaking ungodly statements and predictions over us. The Bible says our response is to “Bless those who curse us” (Lk 6:28; Rom 12:14; 1 Pet 3:9).
We must be careful not to be snared by what we say for our words are important, and they are powerful especially when we are speaking out what God has said (Prov 6:2, 18:21). Jesus did not try to reason when Satan tempted Him but replied with Scripture (Mt 4:4,7,10). The result – Satan knew he was defeated and left. The Word is living and powerful and a very effective weapon against Satan (Eph 6:17; Heb 4:12). This is why we are to use this vital component of the spiritual armour (termed the sword of the Spirit) with which we are able to resist the spiritual forces that come against us (Eph 6:11-18). Am I using this vital weapon to gain victory? God’s Word is the authority; it has more power than any human statement. We are authorised to only declare or speak out what God has spoken, not go beyond and project our ideas.
The power of prayer
Prayer is submission to God’s will
to submit our desires to God, that His will not ours be done as with faith we “ask in prayer” (Mt 26:39; Mk 11:24). God values qualities
such as humility and brokenness, but detests arrogance and our presumption that we know best and demands that He respond accordingly. The
clay doesn’t tell the potter the type of vessel it is to be formed into (Isa 45:9; Jer 18:4,6). Humanity as represented by the clay can’t
command or dictate, instead only submit to Him the all-knowing potter. Prayer is coming in the weakness of humanity with utter dependence
to God’s sovereign power to accomplish.
We are to petition God, humbly asking in prayer and supplication for that which we believe is in agreement with God’s will, “this is the confidence that we have toward Him, that if we ask anything according to His will He hears us” (1 Jn 5:14).
Faith (the belief we will have what we ask for) is an important aspect of any receiving from God (Heb 11:6). We are invited to ask for His power to resolve situations that are beyond our ability, but He knows the best answer (which may be different to our request).
Praying is effective too
In our enthusiasm to see God intervene in a situation, we can move outside the guidelines of Scripture. While we are given authority to claim His promises and speak out declarations into the spirit realm, they must be based on Scripture. Thus, we must find a Scripture pertaining to our circumstance and declare it over the situation – we are not at liberty to declare our ideas. For example, after sinning and repenting, we can claim and declare we are forgiven because the Bible states, “If we confess our sins He…will forgive us our sins” (1 Jn 1:9). The Name of Jesus is not a licence to use it how we want, but only do enforce His will to release the Holy Spirit to impart divine power and speak blessing. It is only when we speak from the God-given standpoint we have authority to command action.
The Israelites were told to “Fix these words of [God] in your hearts and minds…Teach them to your children, talking about them [continually]” (Deut 6:6,7, 11:18-20). His Words are to be our topic of conversation and guide. It is important to understand any spiritual declaration we make are not creating physical matter but speaking desired results in human lives and situations. Among the many manifestations of the miraculous divine power operating through Him, Jesus commanded a corpse to come to life, declared a curse on fig tree, and ordered a storm to cease (Mk 5:39, 11:13,14; Lk 8:24). He did so to show us that God is in total control.
Jesus stated, “Behold all authority in heaven and earth is given to Me [Jesus]. Go and make disciples” (Mt 28:18). When He ascended into heaven, He gave authority to us His followers do these same things as part of the great commission (Mt 28:19,20; Mk 16:15-18). These are to preach the gospel, disciple the nations, heal the sick, cast out demons using the authority of His name. We do not have to pray about what He has told us to do, we are just to use that authority to do the work He calls us to do. This is where we are to declare the Words of God. We don’t have the power to do anything we would like, but we do have the delegated authority of His power to fulfil His orders.