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BIS LIVES Blog

Worship as a Means to Acquiring Wisdom

how worshipping god leads us to wisdom

Last month, a line in a book I was reading caught my attention. The author was making the claim that true wisdom, Godly wisdom, can only be acquired through worship. I closed the book and reflected on that for a minute; it caught me off guard.

When I think of worship, I immediately picture Christian rock concerts or humming along to Matt Maher on the car stereo. I envision swaying in the front pew during Sunday Mass as we sing a favorite hymn.

Worship has always been, in my mind, another term for “praising God” and I almost always equate it to music. I asked myself, is that true? Do we acquire wisdom through worship?

Wait a second…how do I even define wisdom? I hadn’t really thought about it before.

What is Wisdom?

After spending some time pondering and reading, I think biblical wisdom can be pretty easily summed up as “knowing and doing God’s will.” When I think of the wisest people I know, faith wise, their lives have the same common thread. They are active seekers of Christ, always longing for more of Him, and striving to discern His will and carry it out in their daily lives.

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Biblical Wisdom

Of course, there are tons of verses throughout the Bible that paint a beautiful picture of what Godly wisdom looks like.

Wisdom is humble; the truly wise are marked by their humility. -Proverbs 11:12

Wisdom is peace, mercy, goodness, sincerity. -James 3:17

Wisdom is soothing, calm and collected – not quick to temper or rage. -Proverbs 29:11

Wisdom is pleasantness. -Proverbs 3:18

It’s totally clear: a life characterized by true wisdom is a life marked by peace, joy, humility, and goodness. When I think of women in my life who I would call truly wise, those characteristics come to mind. They seem to float through life. Not naively or immune to the struggles and sorrows. But with the surety that comes from knowing they are beheld by their Creator. They deeply believe in His goodness and promise to see them through.

It’s the kind of life–and faith–I want for myself.

A life characterized by true wisdom is a life marked by peace, joy, humility, and goodness... It’s the kind of life–and faith–I want for myself. #BISblog // Click To Tweet

What is Worship?

When I read that line in the book, it felt too easy. I can get true wisdom, this seemingly elusive but super important virtue, through worship? Play enough K-Love Radio and it will make me wise? Of course, it’s not as simple as that, and requires us to dig deep into what it means to truly worship our God.

Worship is, according to Webster, to honor with extravagant love and extreme submission.

True worship is a life of holiness that stems from a heart overflowing with love of God. It is not centered on honoring God for what He does, but who He is. True worship is the act of laying down our plans, desires, and will at the foot of the Cross and desiring only what God wants.

And when we adopt this posture of true worship that seeks to honor with extravagant love and extreme submission, we begin to develop true wisdom. That is, the ability to know and do God’s will. The more we revere, honor, and adore God, the more we understand who He is. The more we understand who He is, the more we can hear Him speak in our life and can heed His call.

True worship is a life of holiness that stems from a heart overflowing with love of God. #BISblog // Click To Tweet

Three Ways to Acquire Wisdom Through Worship

Suddenly it feels like I have such a long, long way to go in truly worshipping God. Let alone acquiring wisdom through it.

God meets us where we are, though, of this we can rest assured. And even the smallest start is just that:a start.

If you’re wanting to start a habit of worship that leads to wisdom, here are my top three tips.

1. Reflect on the characteristics of God.

I find that when I’m focused on who God is instead of what He does (or in my limited view, appears to not do), my worship is much deeper.

Some of the characteristics you might meditate on are: God is infinite, God is immutable (unchanging), God is omnipotent (all-powerful), God is omniscient (all-knowing), God is omnipresent (He is everywhere), God is good, God is just, God is merciful, God is faithful.

2. Give thanks for things outside of your petitions.

I find that when I go to give thanks or write in my gratitude journal, I tend to focus first on answered prayers. I treat it kind of like a checklist for my list of petitions. “Did God answer this one? Hooray, I’m so grateful! Jot that down.”

That’s not a bad thing at all. But it tends to keep me focused on the tally of things God has done or not done for me, rather than truly adoring Him regardless of what prayers He’s answered. It keeps my worship self-focused rather than focused on God Himself.

When I work to notice and give thanks for other things, like the light through the trees while I’m on a walk with my kids, or the way the fog lingers over the field, or the hummingbirds gathered around a flower in the yard, I’m often able to honor and adore God in a deeper way than when I’m only reflecting on my petitions and prayer requests. Suddenly I have eyes to see all the good that exists just because. Not because I asked for it, but simply because God in His goodness wants us to be blessed.

3. Practice being in God’s presence.

A mindful practice of entering into God’s presence will help you adopt an attitude of reverence and adoration. Maybe it’s a Holy Hour in the Adoration chapel, a Rosary on the commute to work, or simply sitting in silence for a few minutes during naptime.

I find that when I truly silence the distractions and give myself wholly to the Lord, for whatever length of time, I am awed with love of Him.

A daily practice of entering mind and spirit into God’s presence is an amazing way to create a rhythm of worship that leads to wisdom.

How do you cultivate an attitude of true worship in your life? How has God-centered worship lead you closer to wisdom? We’d love to hear your tips as we walk this road together!

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Valerie Keinsley is a wife to a police officer and mama to two little ones living in central Indiana, where she and her husband are currently doing a massive renovation of their 116-year-old home. She loves WWII novels, decaf chai lattes, and trying to keep houseplants alive. She is striving to find and name beauty in the midst of the mundane, and loves to share her “good lists” on Instagram. You can find out more about her here.

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2 Comments

  • Reply
    Paola @ Swallow the World
    November 7, 2018 at 9:38 am

    What a beautiful post! It touched my heart. I think the idea of centering the worship on God and not on ourselves is so important and makes our hearts more open to His grace.

  • Reply
    Lisa Murphy
    November 12, 2018 at 1:52 am

    Check out Fr Mikes recent homily on worship:
    https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/umd-newman-catholic-campus-ministry/id273537688?mt=2&i=1000423264938
    Thank you for reminding us that wisdom comes from God! We merely receive.

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