Driving a car does not make you a mechanic any more than breathing makes you a pulmonologist. Experience as a mechanic makes you a mechanic.
When we lived in Greenville, we had a great mechanic. I’ll call him “Joe.” Joe knew cars like nobody else. I could describe to him an issue I was having with my truck and before he even saw the vehicle he could diagnose what the problem was likely to be and give me all the reasons why I was having the issue I was having. Then he’d ask me a computer question, I’d answer it and he’d ask: “How’d you get to be so good with computers?” I’d answer that with a question of my own: “How’d you get to be so good with cars?” It all boils down to one word: experience. Experience is something we gain from putting knowledge to practical use.
After telling us about the seven character qualities that make up the Christian walk, Peter tells us three things that walk should produce in us: fruitfulness, vision and security. Today, we’ll just look at fruitfulness.
“For if these things be in you, and abound, they make you that ye shall neither be barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ” (2 Peter 1:8).
That word translated “knowledge” is the Greek word epiginosko meaning “to know full well,” or “knowledge that perfectly unites the subject with the object” (Vine’s NT Word Studies). It’s the kind of knowledge that my mechanic Joe has about cars. It’s knowledge that comes from experience working with cars and putting that know-how to practical use. When we go to a mechanic to fix our car, we expect someone who has had years of practical experience working on cars, not some dude who has binge-watched a bunch of YouTube videos on the subject and only thinks he’s an expert. So, we understand the difference between head knowledge and experiential knowledge when it comes to things like that and we appreciate how important experiential knowledge is. But so often we’ll just settle for head knowledge when it comes to our walk with God and wonder why we’re so ineffective.
It’s easy to show up at church, hear the message and then do nothing with it. The kind of fruit-bearing knowledge that Peter is talking about doesn’t just sit an soak. Someone who is practicing ginosko knowledge takes what God puts in front of him to do, and does it. When God convicts him of sin, he makes it right. When God points out some area of neglect in his life, he seeks ways to improve. When God burdens him to serve in his church or his community, he obeys and does that.
People who live this way are never barren (ineffective). Like Peter says, people who live their lives in immediate obedience to God are fruitful believers. You don’t have to have special talents. You don’t have to be called to a particular ministry. You just have to be available and willing to do what God instructs you to do. You also don’t have to worry about the ability to do what you need to do. If you will obey, God will supply. You know, there was a time – perhaps very early in Joe’s life – when he knew nothing about cars. But Joe developed a love for cars and developed his talent for them over time. Joe is a very godly man and God has used his talent for cars to be a great ministry to those in need. I like to tease him and say he runs an outreach ministry disguised as a garage. Joe would never claim that for himelf. He just sees himself as a mechanic who wants to honor God from where he is. Joe is not an unfruitful believer. He has a vibrant garage ministry. All he does it what God has given him to do. Every one of us can be like Joe. Every one of us can choose to be fruitful. All we need to do is what God has put in front of us to do and the fruit will come.
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