For some time now I have read a lot of posts on Facebook and in emails or other news articles, people announcing how they are “claiming” this promise or that promise of God.

I see such profound statements as “Today I am announcing that I claim …”  Growing up I think we called this “finders, keepers”, as if what we just discovered or found was ours simply because we said so.

Certainly I know that there are a lot of promises in the Bible. … and I would love to “cash in” on each and every one!  According to one person’s count, there are 3573 promises in the Bible.  I will not quibble with that one way or the other.  Suffice to say, the Lord made lots of them!

At the same time, I have been taught that every promise had a premise.  For example: “To him who overcomes I will give to eat from the tree of life, which is in the midst of the Paradise of God” (Revelation 2:7, NKJV).

The Promise: you will eat from the tree of life.

The Premise:  you need to overcome.

Somehow this implies a level of obedience that I do not always feel people want to commit to following.  “I just want to eat from the tree of life, but the overcoming part seems a bit hard…”

A few week back someone sent me this paragraph: Claim God’s promises, declare His Words. This is also called Prophetic declaration or praying the word of God. When you are praying the word of God you are agreeing with Him, you agree with his plans and purpose for your life. You are prophesying what God will do with your life in the present and in the future. The most powerful and effective prayers are found in the bible. When the enemy tells you that you are nothing but a big failure confront him with the word of God. Remember that the word is the sword of the Spirit, Declare God’s word for your life, claim His promise!

While I do not dispute the core of what this says … I still have a problem with the lack of obedience that seems to be missing.  Far too many want the blessing … but not the “work” involved … and this seems like a “red flag” to me.

In my own devotional life I continually come across the promises of God … and as I said before … I want everyone of them!  But each time I pray them … or declare them … I ask myself, “Have I been obedient … have I fulfilled the requirement(s) … the premises … God has laid out…?”

Another example from Malachi 3:10 (NIV):

The Promise: see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that there will not be room enough to store it.

The Premise: Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. Test me in this,” says the Lord Almighty

Now before any of you charge me with works righteousness, please know that I fully understand that it is “by grace you have been saved, through faith.”  And at the same time I understand that there is a loving response to His great love (faith without works…etc).

One last example … from my “life verse”, Proverbs 3:5-6 (ESV)

The Promise: he will make straight your paths.

The Premise: Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding.  In all your ways acknowledge him …

Maybe what I am saying is this: rather than “name it and claim it” it should be “practice obedience to God’s Word … and see what happens!”