The Lord is My Portion
“In every atom, there is a reflection of the whole.”― Jay Woodman
When people say “God is my portion,” they mean that God is their source of happiness and blessings. That they are content with all that He provides. And that they need nothing else but Him.
He satisfies their soul.
Though this is accurate, there is another side to it that connects us more closely with God’s heart.
If you google definition of portion, you’ll first see that it means a part of a whole. This got me thinking:
Although we have our own worlds, per se, we are part of something bigger.
Believers are part of a whole. Or Whole.
Every individual on earth is unique, with their own interests, values, perspectives, and communities, etc. They are equally part of this world and on this earth, in this universe, etc.
Believers are part of something bigger than all of that: God’s Kingdom.
When you say, “God is my portion,” not only do you declare that God is your everything, but also that you are part of His Kingdom. Part of His Wholeness.
Because He is your Source of Life, you feel different and set apart from the rest of the world. There’s a calling and a deep sense to do something meaningful with your life.
It’s not about being better and competing, but living your life with intense conviction, passion, and purpose. Psalm 119 shows us how to do just that:
Psalm 119:57-64 Heth
In Psalm 119:57-64, the psalmist offers a prayer of promises to God about this lifestyle. He declares,
57 The Lord is my portion; I have promised to keep Your words.
58 I sought Your favor with all my heart; Be gracious to me according to Your word.
59 I considered my ways And turned my feet to Your testimonies.
60 I hurried and did not delay To keep Your commandments.
61 The snares of the wicked have surrounded me, But I have not forgotten Your Law.
62 At midnight I will rise to give thanks to You Because of Your righteous judgments.
63 I am a companion to all those who fear You, And to those who keep Your precepts.
64 The earth is full of Your goodness, Lord; Teach me Your statutes.
Click here for the rest of Psalm 119: Stringing Pearls.
Definition of Heth
To be great, be whole;
Exclude nothing, exaggerate nothing that is not you.
Be whole in everything. Put all you are
Into the smallest thing you do.
So, in each lake, the moon shines with splendor
Because it blooms up above.― Fernando Pessoa
The 8th letter of the Hebrew alphabet, Heth, goes back to an Egyptian hieroglyph that represents a courtyard which is an unroofed area, completely enclosed by walls.
It is also from the Hebrew word enclosure, which means an area that is sealed off with an artificial or natural barrier or the state of being enclosed.
A courtyard is an example of an enclosure. Though it’s its own area, it’s still part of something bigger (house, castle, property, etc.).
Courtyards have many functions, vary in size, structure, and style, and add value to a house or property.
In a similar way, you and I vary from each other.
We have unique abilities and talents; we look different, our body types and fashion choices are different. Yet, despite our differences, we both bring value to our environments.
Still, we are part of a whole.
Like a courtyard is part of something bigger: you and I are, too.
The letter Heth and its meaning, courtyard, lays out 3 principles for us in this psalm:
- Don’t let the external interfere with your internal
- Make “active” promises; and
- Cultivate where you currently are
Portion: Part of a Whole
What happens to a person is less significant than what happens within him.— Louis L. Mann
Principle 1: don’t let the external interfere with your internal.
A courtyard is an area surrounded by its building and/or walls. It is open to the sky, yet separate from the outside world. You might see, hear, and smell the outside world when inside, but it is still its own area and set apart. It may be in a neighborhood, a busy city, or enormous property. But it’s not of it.
It’s of the house connected to it. It’s of the owner’s home.
Part of a bigger whole.
The courtyard is the first area one sees when inside. It is the introduction of the home, the impression of the family and atmosphere, or in today’s words, vibe. It is also the last part of the home before stepping into the outside world.
Similar to a courtyard, we are the introduction to God’s Kingdom, the impression of God’s family. We are the connecting piece that joins others to Christ.
As a believer, being in God’s Kingdom means that, though we are in the world, we are not of it. We see all that’s in the broken world, but we are part of something (Someone) Whole and set apart.
The courtyard reflects one of two things, as do we:
- What is outside of it (or us)
- What is deeper within
You reflect what you focus on.
The world will keep doing what it knows to do best, however chaotic and dark. But like a courtyard, you either reflect what’s outside of you or what is deeper within. When you focus on situations beyond your control, your internal peace turns into turmoil and you get tossed around.
But when you turn within to Christ (as Jeanne Guyon says), your internal peace gets anchored in Him. The psalmist shows us that when God becomes our everything, our satisfaction, our portion, anything external doesn’t interfere with our internal state because what is deeper within is more important:
- God’s Word and promises
- God’s favor
- God’s will for your life
- God’s commandments
- God’s Church
- God’s teachings
It looks like a laundry list, but when in God’s Kingdom, this is the portion you receive and prioritize by your own will. These get highlighted to you the more you learn about God. Your desires, emotions, and goals in life change and align to His voice and Word.
It’s a lot easier to be internally stable when you reflect on what’s deeper within instead of what’s outside of you and your control. If a courtyard reflected the busyness of the street, it would not be as welcoming as when it reflects the internal state of the home. In the same way, it is more difficult to approach, be with, or communicate with someone who gets easily swayed by external things.
The master of the house sets the standard for the atmosphere in a home. And when you focus on the Master, you become immoveable and stable, like Him.
Empty Words = Empty Actions
Creativity involves breaking out of established patterns in order to look at things in a different way.— Edward de Bono
Principle 2: Make “active” promises.
The courtyard is operational. It’s active.
There is always something to do, even if it’s to bask in the sun or stargaze. It’s an area for activity, even though it may seem still at first. It is a world within a world, a place for community and fellowship, chores and entertainment, and so on.
It is the same in God’s Kingdom.
People are busy. You are busy.
There is always something to do, whether it’s work, play, or rest. However, the focus isn’t on doing.
In the Hebrew language, the word shema means “to hear or listen” and it describes hearing and obeying at the same time. Almost everywhere you see the word “obey” in the Bible, it’s translated from shema. You reflect what you focus on and then shema.
If you obey what’s outside of you, you will reflect what is in the world: empty promises, lack of commitment, and the father of lies.
If you obey Holy Spirit, who is deeper within, you will reflect active promises, a life of integrity, and our Heavenly Father.
With this in mind, look at the psalmist’s response to obeying God’s words:
- I have promised to keep Your words.
- I sought Your favor with all my heart;
- I considered my ways and turned my feet to Your testimonies.
- I hurried and did not delay to keep Your commandments.
- I have not forgotten Your Law.
- At midnight I will rise to give thanks to You Because of Your righteous judgments.
- I am a companion to all those who fear You, And to those who keep Your precepts.
- Teach me Your statutes.
James 1:22 says, 22 But prove yourselves doers of the word, and not just hearers who deceive themselves. As one with God, you will long to become a better person. The more you reflect on Him, the more you will pursue self-improvement. The psalmist understands that without God; he is nothing. We need God to live a fulfilling life.
When Jesus prayed in John 17, He didn’t ask the Father to take the disciples out of the world, but for them to go into the world. Although you’re not of the world, you’re called to go into it and to change it. It’s understandable that courtyards can’t move architecturally, but when anyone comes in contact with you, you affect their life somehow. Especially as a believer.
The impact is most effective when you make these active promises, or shema God’s voice. This seems like an even bigger laundry list, but to hear and obey the will of God ties in to your purpose. The psalmist makes these active promises because he knows that God’s word:
- doesn’t return void
- brings favor, goodness, and mercy
- keeps your path straight
- brings blessing
- sharpens the mind
- brings contentment and gratitude
- leads to community
- brings sense of worth
- makes you humble and teachable
That sounds like a better life than if it was to reflect the world.
The thing is, you won’t have to come up with “active promises.” They will pour out of you. As I mentioned earlier, we are all different and will shema in life differently. But we can hang on to the truth within the Bible, and the promises that God makes to us (as listed above). Active promises come about when you reflect Jesus.
Keep your eyes on Him!
Bring Meaning to Everyone Everywhere
Even if I knew that tomorrow the world would go to pieces, I would still plant my apple tree.— Martin Luther
Principle 3: You are where you need to be. Cultivate it.
I grew up as an only girl among boys. I was very quick to compare myself to others and get jealous. Which led me to be prickly and often rude. The older I get, I learn more and more that it’s important to cultivate and work on yourself…
A courtyard is the first impression of a home (not so much in America, but you know what I mean).
It is the introduction to the rest of the home. It brings meaning to every area while holding its purpose as people enter. It needs to be approachable, relatable, comfortable, and welcoming.
Like a courtyard needs work and care, so do you. At least, I know my character needs help.
It’s important to cultivate and work on yourself to be pleasing, not only to God, but to other people.
This isn’t about people-pleasing! This is about being approachable. Filled with the fruit of the Spirit: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.
Again with the laundry list? Nah 🙂
These attributes follow when you focus on Jesus, and shema His words. To be enclosed in Christ is to be the ultimate courtyard for Him.
Because YOU are the connector of someone from the world to God’s Kingdom, it’s important to cultivate yourself, or your “area” as if you really are a courtyard.
As a courtyard brings meaning and value to the rest of the house, you bring value to your environment and God’s Kingdom. You may not see the impact you make today, but even if you don’t see it tomorrow, cultivate and work on what you can. You are where you need to be, and if you don’t see it, others do.
You bring meaning to your environment.
You have purpose in God’s Kingdom.
Ultimately, you must rely and trust God in every season. Doing so will prevent you from letting the external interfere with your internal. He will continuously give you a sense of purpose and meaning for life – there will always be something to do (rest, work, play, etc.). And He will help you cultivate your character and attitude, which will improve your relationships.
It’s important to be internally stable, to hear and obey simultaneously, and to cultivate your character. Each principle requires ONE last thing that allows ANYONE to live by them:
64 The earth is full of Your goodness, Lord; Teach me Your statutes.
The last verse of this section is an exultation of God’s works on earth, tied with one request. Lord, teach me Your statutes. Being teachable is the best advice I could ever give or get. As someone who often compared for the wrong reasons and easily got jealous, I could’ve had novel experiences in life if I compared intending to learn and being teachable.
The psalmist got it right to ask God to teach him His statutes. Of all the things we can learn, the Bible holds a truth that sets us free, helps renew our minds, and brings us to closer unity with Him.
- What does “The Lord is My Portion” mean to you?
- What Bible verse or promise of God’s anchors you?
- What is one active promise that pours out of you?
- How do you bring meaning to your environment?
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