Wednesday, 8 October 2014

Portion control {satisfied with Christ}

I have children who are food watchers.  Have you got any like that? They do this sneaky look out of the "corner" of their eye, to see what everyone else has on their plate.  Trying to decide whether they think that I have dished up their dinner fairly.  Seeing if they have the right portion size.

Similarly, you hear talk, in the world of food and dieting, about "portion control" - not having too much or too little of certain foods.  Thankfully, the "diet" I am following has not got strict portion sizes, other than "don't eat too little"!!!

What exactly IS a "portion"?

Well, it can be "a part of a whole" - your portion of a pie, or portion of a lasagne.

It can also be your "lot" in life, or your "destiny".

You can also think of it in terms of what you NEED, in order to satisfy you.  If a portion size that was too little, was given to you to eat, you would not feel satisfied, and would perhaps feel hungry.  If a portion that was too LARGE was given, you would struggle to eat it and feel too full!  The person serving it up would need to know you quite well, to give you the right portion.

I know my children, and their needs.  I know which children have a faster metabolism, and the ones who have a more sluggish one.  I know which ones can take higher quantities, and which ones are better with less and more often.  I'm their parent. I KNOW them.  Better than they know themselves. Sometimes I give them MORE of something than they would choose! I KNOW they need more veg than they would perhaps choose for themselves.... it's good for them, even though they don't like it, and don't like how it tastes.  They endure it, because I have put it on their plate.

In the Psalms we find several references as to the Lord being our "portion".

The LORD is the portion of mine inheritance and of my cup: thou maintainest my lot. 
Psalm 16:5

"  Whom have I in heaven but thee? and there is none upon earth that I desire beside thee. 
My flesh and my heart faileth: but God is the strength of my heart, and my portion for ever."
Psalm 73:25 &26

Spiritually speaking, what does this mean?

The Lord *IS* everything we need. Just by having Him in our heart and life, He IS our portion.  No matter what life throws at us - no matter where our path leads us - if we are trusting in Him as our Saviour, we HAVE the Lord, and that is everything we need.

Also, BECAUSE He is our portion, He GIVES us everything we need.

As the verses in Psalm 73 say, other things around us will fail us - the things of our heart, and the things of the flesh - temporal things.

Sadly, we are often like my children. We can look around, subtly, so often, at others, and look at what THEY have and think "Why I can't have as much as they have?"

Maybe it's our husband - we look at our "portion", and wonder why it can't be like someone else's. Why can't we have more? Why can't our husband BE more? Different?  Better?  More skilled in some area?

Perhaps it's our children?  Why can't they behave as well as another person's child?  Why can't they look prettier?  Why can't they be as gifted in some area, or do better in the school life?  Why can't their personality be more like another child's, who we perceive to be "better"?

Our homes... bigger, smaller, more modern, better location, better equipped?

How about the circumstances that we experience in our lives? Too many trials, too much illness, too much heartache, too many trying relationships, not enough contact with others, not enough money, not enough holidays, not enough possessions?

If we have the truth of God imprinted on our hearts, that HE is our portion - that we HAVE everything ALREADY - all these other things will take on an entirely different perspective.  He IS our portion, and He DIRECTS our portion - our circumstances and provisions.  It's perfect.  All of it.

Think about Job.  It says he was "perfect" - that can be translated as "complete".  How could he be complete? By understanding that God was His everything, and NOT all the amazing possessions he owned.  And, he owned MUCH.  The true test of his understanding of the Lord alone being everything he needed is clearly shown in the circumstances of his life.  Children - gone; health - poor; belongings - obliterated; unsupportive wife - still there; unhelpful friends - still hanging around.  We can relate to SO much there - imperfect marriage, a lack of "things", friends who just aren't there when we need them.  Yet, where did his hope lie, through it all - where was his focus?  Upon the LORD - His portion.  ALL that He needed.  His body was decaying before his very eyes, and he had little left, in a temporal sense - but His focus was upon His Redeemer - His portion.

I KNOW there are friends of mine out there - right NOW - and the portion of their lives are not what they would have meted out for themselves.  They wouldn't have picked the trials and struggles they are enduring. They would have put their hand over their plate and said "enough", before now.  I wouldn't have chosen many of the experiences I have had to experience, either.

But God, who is merciful, loving, just, PERFECT, knows our portion, and sets it out perfectly.  He simply knows what we need, when we need it, how we need it, even if we can't see it for ourselves.

What are our desires?  Do we desire the things of this life, more than we desire God? Fulfilment in our marriage?  Children who are "perfect"?  All the temporal things we could desire?

Or, is there NOTHING we desire more than the Lord Himself?

If he is our portion, our heart will be strong.  Strong enough to see us through any trial we can face, humanly speaking, because our spiritual strength is in our portion - the Lord - alone.

Marriages, family, circumstances - all important, all God-given, all precious - but HE alone is our portion, FOREVER.

EVERYTHING we have, precious as it is, will one day be gone.  If our portion is Christ alone, and we are resting in Him, we have all we need.

My God, my Portion, and my Love,
My everlasting All,
I’ve none but Thee in heav’n above,
Or on this earthly ball.
What empty things are all the skies,
And this inferior clod!
There’s nothing here deserves my joys,
There’s nothing like my God.

To Thee I owe my wealth, and friends,
And health, and safe abode;
Thanks to Thy name for meaner things,
But they are not my God.
How vain a toy is glittering wealth,
If once compared to Thee!
Or what’s my safety, or my health,
Or all my friends to me.

Were I possessor of the earth,
And called the stars my own,
Without Thy graces and Thyself,
I were a wretch undone.
Let others stretch their arms like seas,
And grasp in all the shore;
Grant me the visits of Thy grace,
And I desire no more.

Isaac Watts

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