The Young, The Old, and The Restless

Brad Livingston   -  

I have been young and now I am old. And in all my years I have never seen the Lord forsake a man who loves him; nor have I seen the children of the godly go hungry.

Psalm 37:25

Will there be enough? Is this the time God lets me down? I know He came through last time, but will He this time? Has He forgotten me? These are all questions that we subconsciously or consciously wrestle with. These questions, and so many more, plague our mind and create doubt about whether or not God can, or will, come through for us. Furthermore, there is a narrative that I honestly think many Christians believe to be true, whether they would admit it or not… “I have done too many of the wrong things for God to take care of me anymore.” These inaccuracies are derived from three different lies that we have believed about our relationship with God:

Lie #1 – God’s disappointment shames us

My shame is too much and God won’t take care of me. Genesis 3:7-8 says otherwise.

Lie #2 – God’s character changes

God has changed his mind about what He promised in His word. Hebrews 13:5 says otherwise.

Lie #3 – God’s resources are insufficient

God isn’t enough. He doesn’t have enough. He won’t provide me with enough. Ephesians 3:20 says otherwise.

The reality is that God, though heartbroken when we sin, is not so disappointed that He desires to cover us in shame. That is a trick of the enemy using our knowledge of our sin to cause us to hide from God. In our hiding, we miss how God is searching for us. He isn’t searching “belt in hand” (or switch in hand if you grew up in the South) to give us some tough love. Jesus took the “tough” part on the cross for us. Now, it’s the gracious love he is so anxious to show us to bring us close to Him. There is certainly an element of God’s nature that follows that grace with truth where he says, “go and sin no more” (John 8:11). But, God is the same yesterday, today, and forever. His grace is enough, his character hasn’t changed, because He is enough.


The enemy has made it his mission to cause us to take the “work” that was assigned to us because of the fall of sin, and make us fall in love with what we’re producing as we work. As Pastor Matt Chandler says, “We have all fallen prey to loving the gifts more than the giver.”

This broken sin complex has caused us to live in a state of inadequacy in our identity, our possessions, and our relationships. We lust and strive to have more than we need rather than going to the One that is all we need. In that, we have lost sight of rest. True, genuine, peaceful, soul-satisfying, consistent, encouraging, energizing, rest that gives us access to true joy deep down in our spirit. 

Sunday we briefly covered three areas that when aligned properly, can help us start to find true rest. I wanted to touch on them with details on how you can start abandoning restlessness and pursue true rest in each area, which makes authentic joy possible.

  • Personal Rest

What is it? 

A state of rest created by implementing necessary boundaries that guard us against an unhealthy level of involvement in particular relationships. These relationships are typically one-sided in regards to encouragement, strengthening, and overall health.

What do I do?

Create boundaries around yourself in regards to the amount of time you will give to relationships that aren’t good for you. I’m certainly not saying to cut all people out of your life, as you may be the one to help encourage them from where they are to where God is taking them. However, you can protect yourself when you predetermine the number of conversations in a week you will have with people who are like this for you. Set a certain amount of time throughout the week that you give to them. When you’ve reached your limit of pouring into them, shut off the supply of attention until you have been replenished in your time with God and others that are an encouragement to you.

What’s the outcome?

These boundaries ensure that the worst of them doesn’t get the best of you. Your family, your friends, the people you lead, your small group, all of the other people in your life, they also need you. Those other relationships can oftentimes be replenishing rather than just draining. So, a predetermined amount of time you will allow for unhealthy relationships in your life ensures you create time for the healthy ones. This keeps you spiritually healthy, emotionally healthy, mentally healthy, less pessimistic, and God-focused.

  • Provisional Rest

What is it? 

A state of rest created by tithing and living a generous life. 

What do I do?

Prioritize tithing and generosity in your financial life. The Biblical model for tithing says 10% of your income belongs to God. In the New Testament, 100% of what we earn belongs to God, but he trusts us to steward it. So, He asks us to continue tithing (Matthew 23:23). But, this isn’t a pass or fail scenario as it was in the Old Testament. We give, as an act of worship, under grace today. Which means that you aren’t going to have a curse on your life by not giving. However, by not giving, you also aren’t establishing yourself to be blessed. Pray about what God would have you consistently give in regard to tithing and be obedient to Him. Then set a goal for what you want to increase it to as God shows you His faithfulness.

What’s the outcome?

We serve a covenantal God. He makes covenants with His people. “If” you do these things, “then” these other things will happen. “If” you put some seed in the ground, “then” fruit will grow. When we give to God a portion of our finances, He makes a covenant with us that He will supply us with all of our needs and bless us with more than we can contain (Malachi 3:6-12). Always remember this, “Nobody can afford to tithe until they start. But once they start, they can’t afford not to.”

  • Productive Rest

What is it? 

A state of rest created by honoring the Sabbath.

What do I do?

Carve out a consistent weekly time frame, if possible a full 24 hours, with no “have to’s” or “shoulds”. During this time, make sure you stop, rest, delight, and reflect. Stop all your work, even emails, phone calls, and any form of producing. Rest, take a nap, hit the couch, close your eyes, find a peaceful place, and be still. Delight in who God is and in his beauty all around you and realize that He formed the world around you, He’s got your needs figured out (Matthew 6:26). Reflect on His provisions and faithfulness in the past and all that He has done and brought you from.

What’s the outcome?

This honor shows God that you are trusting Him to be your provider rather than trusting yourself to be the provider. When we do this and we make it a day of honor to the Lord, he makes our 6 days of work more productive than we would have made with 7 (Exodus 20:8-11). 

These simple, though not always easy, changes to your life will ensure that rest is possible for you. That means joy is obtainable. I have watched throughout different seasons of life as men and women committed to these changes and it became very evident that Psalm 37:25 is true. I was young and as I’m getting older, I’ve truly never have seen those that are close to God relationally, giving God’s what’s his financially, and honoring God productively, forsaken nor have they been out begging for bread. God holds them close and they can choose joy because they aren’t restless, but rather they live a life well-rested.


Boundaries, written by Dr. Henry Cloud

Beyond Blessed, series by Pastor Robert Morris 

Six ways to practice Sabbath, article by Pastor Tim Keller

* Though we cannot doctrinally back or support every piece written or recorded by all of these leaders. We are confident that these particular teachings and writings will encourage you in these areas of rest.