Tuesday, October 23, 2018

5 practical ways to practice WORD BEFORE WORLD

word before world is a buzzy little catchphrase intended to serve as a reminder to start the day in God's Word before engaging with the world. have you heard it? i'm a believer.

word before world is the concept of literally spending time in God's Word first, before consuming the noise of the world. it's an intentional practice meant to set the first focus of your heart, mind, and spirit on the promises of God. 

i believe - because i've experienced it - that spending time with God, in the word, before getting caught up in the day's tasks centers and sets my heart in the right direction, builds up my faith so i can face whatever comes at me in the day, and deepens my relationship with Jesus. the way i see it, word before world goes hand in hand with the "firstfruits" principle, which is to honor God with my first and my best according to proverbs 3:9-10. along those same lines, word before world is not done out of obligation or to check a religious to do list, but is done out of sheer reverence and gratitude. giving my first daily moments to Jesus is a joy! because, afterall, Who told the sun when to rise in the morning? and Who thought to give me breath for one more day? with the same heart of awe and thanksgiving that i end my days thanking God, i begin my days thanking God.       

consider the alternative...waking up to gloom and doom news headlines? focusing first on my neverending chore list? starting my day off filling my head with the noise on facebook? none of that will contribute to the overall good of my heart or my mind. but surrendering the first moments of my day to Jesus? is starting my day with peace, love, joy, truth, and goodness. the time i take to spend in God's Word is an investment in my life, my heart, my wellbeing, my family, and my legacy. it changes everything. 

but what does it look like? how does word before world actually play out for a mom with a bustling household, a lengthy to-do list to tackle, places to be, laundry to fold, and kids that will wake up any minute now? it sounds lovely, but, really, how do we stop the world from coming at us first thing in the morning? let me tell you: it's doable, and it's worth it. 


// PAGE A DAY CALENDAR. years ago, someone gifted me a pretty little page-a-day calendar that stands up on the kitchen countertop next to the sink. every morning, it is part of my routine to pour my coffee and flip the calendar page. on each page is a verse or two of scripture. standing there in the kitchen every morning, beadhead and groggy, the very first thing i read is a snippet from God's Word. i read it, pray it, consider it's context, and it becomes the "theme" of my day. it sets the tone. i put another page-a-day calendar on my bathroom sink, too, since i'm at that sink first. from the time i wake up, i go from bed to bathroom sink (scripture) to kitchen sink (scripture) and already i'm off to a great start with God's Word in my heart before the world even had a chance to distract me. and every time i'm back at the kitchen or bathroom sink throughout the day, i glimpse again at the scripture on the calendar and repeat it in my heart. it's simple and practical, but effective! here are some calendars with God's Word on each day.

// MUSIC. not just any music, of course, but praise and worship music. Romans 10:17 says faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the Word, so start the day listening to God's Word! most popular songs on Christian radio stations are inspired by scripture. as soon as you turn off the alarm clock, turn on the music and let your heart be lifted by hearing and singing along to God's Word. find (or make) a playlist, and let it be the soundtrack of your days. i've shared before how sound affects the peace in our home. there are a lot of noises in the world competing for our attention (tv, news, advertisements, dog barking, phone notifications buzzing...). choose wisely what you start your day listening to. let it be something that turns your heart towards gratitude, joy, God's blessings, and the new mercies of the day. 

// BIBLE STUDY. being part of a bible study is a very practical way to get in God's Word on a regular basis, especially a study that has a daily reading plan. it can become part of your morning routine to pour a hot mug of tea and sit down with your Bible open, reading scriptures, studying their context and meanings, and letting the promises of God take root in your heart. the YouVersion Bible app and BibleGateway.com have free reading plans and bible studies, and there are several others online that you could find by doing a quick Google search. LoveGodGreatly.com hosts bible studies regularly (topical and biblical) with guided reading plans and devotionals. use a calendar, find an accountability friend, or join a group bible study to hold you accountable to making word before world a daily practice. the Word is alive and active, and engaging with it - truly meditating on the words - has the power to transform your life.

// PAPER AND PEN. i love the way one of my friends practices word before world! she keeps a small notebook and pen next to her coffeepot in the kitchen. every morning, as she pours that first cup of coffee, she jots down the date, her prayers for the day, and things she's thankful for. then, she opens her bible and searches for scripture to pray for her specific needs, and writes the verses in the notebook. by the time she's ready to refill her mug, she's already established a strong foundation of truth and grace for the day. paper and a pen, and a longing to spend time with the Lord, is all she needs to put the word before the world.  

// WILL-POWER. very practically speaking, focusing on the word before engaging with the world takes will-power. it takes a heart that is determined to prioritize what is true, lovely, right, admirable, noble, trustworthy, commendable, worthy of praise, honorable, and pure (Philippians 4:8). it might mean waking up a little bit earlier. it might mean making some changes to your morning routine. if having your phone next to your bed makes it tempting to check in on social media before your feet hit the floor in the morning, consider getting a non-phone alarm clock so you can keep the phone in another room and avoid the temptation to world before word. it takes will-power to create a new habit, and where there's a will, there's a way.  

the world wants us to hit the ground running, hustling, texting, posting. the Word wants us to hit the ground submitted, surrendered to God's will, trusting His plan, soaking up His peace. word before word will require you to go counter to the culture. try it tomorrow morning and see if it makes a difference in your day. may i recommend reading the story of Jesus miraculously feeding the multitudes? it's pretty remarkable what God can do when you give Him what you have. and all we're talking here is the first moments of your day.

“I did nothing; the Word did everything.”
-Martin Luther

God's Word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path (Psalm 119:105) and i need God's Word with me, in my heart, to light up my daily walk in a dark world. before i need to check the weather forecast, read the headlines, see what so-and-so posted on social media, check my phone notifications, look at my to-do list, or open my email inbox, i need Jesus. i need to seek first His kingdom. what He has for me is far greater than anything the world could offer. when i practice word before world, i'm dedicating my day to God's will, and it is good. it's day changing, and ultimately, life-changing. 

i saw a funny, yet pointed, post on instagram recently that said:


word before world, friends. first things first. get out of bed with a heart determined to put God first in your day, in your life.

"Let the morning bring me word of your unfailing love, for I have put my trust in you.
Show me the way I should go, for to you I entrust my life."
(Psalm 143:8)