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Being Aware of God


So it was that last week I found myself in a tire shop, sentenced to waiting-room jail with

bad coffee and a TV apparently salvaged from the dumpster. When in a situation like that, I

try to make the best of it (even while annoyed at the money this is going to cost) and strike

up a discussion with my fellow inmates – hopefully to plant some seeds for the gospel in

spite of my bad attitude.  


I don’t have to make the first move this time, as the other inmate (Man #1) immediately

engages me in conversation. (Well, actually, “conversation” would imply that I

participated.). He regales me with tales of his adventures rock climbing, his time in

California, what he did for a living (painting. I think.), etc. etc. All heavily punctuated with,

ummm, very colorful adjectives (which I suppose should be expected in "jail"). Finally, he

takes a breath.  


“So, what do you do for a living?” he asked me.  

“I’m a preacher,” I said.  


Those three words must be a magic incantation, because time and again they mystically

have the ability to change a person, or at least what they talk about and how they talk about

it.  Suddenly, Man #1’s attendance at, and volunteer work for, a local Catholic church

becomes very important. Plus, I learn more than I want to know about a monastic group

someplace in California. But at least the vivid adjectives are gone.  


Not 60 seconds later, another man begins serving his sentence in tire-store jail (man #2). I

didn’t think it was possible, but Man #2 can out-talk Man #1. And if their vocabulary is any

indication, they had the same English teacher.  


Eventually, and probably as a warning, Man #1 slips a hint to Man #2 about my job. And

again, the words do their magic; even when someone else says them!  Powerful stuff they

are. But they’re only effective when I’m within earshot, for I’m sure things went back to

“normal” after the warden let me out.  


Isn’t it interesting how we all put on our best face when we are aware of someone we

whose opinion we value in some sense, or at least want to make a good impression on?

We’re aware of something being different.  


1 Peter 2:19, "For it is commendable if someone bears up under the pain of unjust suffering

because they are conscious of God (italics added)." 


This passage makes it clear that being conscious of God – being aware of his presence –

has a powerful affect on our behavior. Here, Peter says that being aware of God helps us

endure pain. He empowers our ability to suffer. But I wonder what else being conscious of

God might change?  



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