Unintentionally, a bit of an Unconventional series has emerged. A post back in October, “Tweak it a Bit,” focused on how we sometimes need to make minor adjustments to our lives. Then in November, “Tweak it a Lot” explored how some areas need a larger overhaul. But this week, “Tweak it Totally,” examines how at times revising won’t work, only replacing. Here’s the story.
I’m writing a new devotional book about motorcycles, Easy Riding, on the lessons we learn. About of half of the chapters are taken from Unconventional posts, expanded and revised from the typical 400 to 600 words up to 1,000. One chapter, Addictions, started as the shortest at 300 words, and I struggled to increase it. One option—adding more words to each paragraph merely increased words, not content. Another option of adding a new section didn’t fit the flow. All my efforts merely revealed that what worked at 300 didn’t when tripling it.
One night when unable to sleep, I got up and pulled out a mystery novel to arouse sleepiness, and during a murder scene, an entirely new approach emerged. I would use the original opening story, but then start totally fresh. That stroke of inspiration came with all the major points to finish the post. The previous content, unrevisable, had to be replaced. Once I yielded trying to tweak it, the writing began to flow. Yeah, the original content got “murdered.” Suspect known and in custody.
Following Jesus can match that. We can tweak a lot of areas, and relatively minor or major changes can bring large results. But with some issues, we have to give up.
That can include some behaviors that have no spiritual morality, but they possess us. A friend once gave up reading newspapers when he realized that reading seven every day became an addiction. He tried cutting back, couldn’t, so cut them out entirely.
Some relationships fit that model. Despite all our best efforts, we can’t move them into the beneficial category. We continue to love them, but it’s OK with God if we withdraw if necessary, “If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone” (Romans 12:18). God knows we can’t live in peace with all people, and continual abuse does not need to always be endured.
How we serve can fit in, like with a person we’ve been sharing Jesus with. Sheila prayed for her dad’s salvation for decades, then sensed God saying, “That’s enough.” Some ways we minister may come to an end. After over two decades serving God as a pastor, the time came to change how I served him. And while we shouldn’t church hop, sometimes it’s time to go.
Now, a couple of qualifications. Please don’t use this post to justify violating a biblical command. Commands come with God’s authority. Also, be sure you’ve done all you can to fix it, with either a minor or major tweak, before making a change. But sometimes, major changes in what we do must happen for us to continue growing in Jesus.
Kick Starting the Application
Do you have an area you’ve tried both minor and major tweaking, and where neither repaired the problem? How extensive were your attempts to tweak it a little or a lot? Have you given it your best shot? Is this an issue that God suggests you need to change? What can you do this week to move ahead in this area?