In the last couple of years I have encountered an aspect of faith that seemed really alien to me at first, declarations. Here at Bethel Church they are firm believers in the power of declaration and if I am honest it has taken me a while to get my head round it. What do I mean by declarations? Great question, I have come to understand declarations as speaking out truth over my life or speaking out loud what I want to see happen. My initial reservations were mainly due to a misunderstanding of what this looked like. I did not want to be the sort of person who just said positive things that felt empty or untrue. Something in the DNA of a Scot rejects strongly the idea of being a hypocrite! As I have learnt more and understood however my eyes have been opened to the weight that our words carry and the power of declarations.
We all make declarations
One of the first things I realised was that I already made declarations, the idea was not as alien as I first thought. I realised however that my declarations were mainly negative! “I can’t do that” “I am no good at that” “My neck is killing me”. I didn’t seem to have much trouble making negative declarations but something about positive ones caused me to feel uneasy! As well as the everyday statements we often make I realised that being part of an Episcopal church for the past 15 years we make declarations each week through the traditional liturgy. We are declaring truth about God and about us.
Jesus makes declarations
If you read the gospels you will notice how different Jesus’s prayers are to ours! We very easily get drawn into begging prayers. “If its not too much trouble could you please help me out, pretty please, maybe, because I really need it”. Now there is nothing wrong with prayers where we ask for things, we are told to ask, Jesus however shows us a higher way to live. He declares healing to sick: “Be healed”. He rebukes the storm and its still. He curses a fig tree and it dies. He seems to walk in a much greater revelation of who his Father is and with that comes a greater authority and higher beliefs. It is not about manipulating God but rather growing in intimacy and confidence as we learn his heart. I have found my prayer life change as I grasped the truth here. I find my self declaring breakthrough where it is needed more often, where I would previously been petitioning God.
Words are crazy powerful
When we stop and remember that the bible is clear that our words are way more powerful than we tend to realise it can be quite challenging. Proverbs tells us that “The tongue has the power of life and death, and those who love it will eat its fruit.”. Often this verse is used in the context of how damaging we can be to others with hurtful words. I hadn’t quite realised that LIFE was also available through what I say! It is not enough to simply not say bad things. The things I say produce fruit and if I value what I say I will get to feast on the results of my conversations. James tells us that our words actually give our lives direction, they are like the rudder of a ship. Our words set our course and navigate us through life!
It is not just positive thinking
At first declarations can seem like a weird positive thinking exercise until you see the pattern scripture gives us. Romans tells us “Faith comes by hearing”. Our faith is built by hearing the word of God. Our beliefs are strengthened as we hear Gods truth over our lives and situations. The pattern that scripture sets is that we are to believe and then we will see. We sometimes think that we need to see something is true before we believe it is true. How did we receive salvation? We believed and then we began to see the effects in our lives. The same continues in our spiritual development. Saying something that doesn’t feel true is completely biblical and not hypocritical in any way, we are called believers not feelers. For biblical examples see Gideon, who was called a mighty man before he was, Peter who was called a rock before he was reliable and many other examples. Saying truth out loud creates faith and strengthens our beliefs which leads to the manifestation of what we believe. Declarations are a tool in strengthening our beliefs and directing our lives into all of Gods great promises. We sometimes think it is our pastors role to help us renew our minds when there is a lot we can take responsibility for ourselves.
I actually think I saw declarations work before I understood them. I would try things out and declare healing to someone and see it happen. I would declare financial blessing over my wife and I and see provision provided shortly after. One of my friends, in need of finances for his mission trip, made a declaration that someone was putting money into his missions account. He later went home and checked his emails, only to discover that money had been paid in at the very moment he made the declaration. I have also been making more general declarations about who I am in Christ and have seen how it has helped me renew my mind very quickly! Declaring truth helps breaks strongholds in our minds. The more uncomfortable a truth is to say, the more likely your beliefs are not quite lined up with Gods truth.
I thought I would leave you with five declarations you can speak over yourself each day. It may make you feel really uneasy at first but you will see the fruit in your life grow.
- My prayers are powerful and effective (James 5:16)
- God richly supplies all my needs (Phil 4:19)
- I am dead to sin and have a victorious DNA in me (Rom 6:11 Rom 5:16)
- The fullness of God dwells in me (Col 1:19, 27)
- I set the course of my life with my words (James 3)