A 365 Day Devotional Journal
Scripture: Galations 5:16-23; Romans 5; Romans 8:1-3; Ephesians 2:1-15; 1 Corinthians 10:4.
I wish I spoke Greek… and Hebrew.
At least, sometimes I do.
See, it’s like this, I think I have a fair grasp on a particular passage of scripture in the Bible, when bam! Strong’s Concordance (or Vine’s) slams you up against the head with a double-language whammy.
Take Galations 5:22-23, for instance. I’ll even use Amplified for those of us who are hard of hearing:
But the fruit of the [Holy] Spirit [the work which His presence within accomplishes] is love, joy (gladness), peace, patience (an even temper, forbearance), kindness, goodness (benevolence), faithfulness, Gentleness (meekness, humility), self-control (self-restraint, continence). Against such things there is no law [that can bring a charge].¹
Easy to grasp, right?
That’s where you are wrong, my friend. See, the English word, “fruit” is one of those lovely English language words that we tend to confuse with irregular plural nouns. At least I did. I assumed the plural of “fruit” was “fruit”, but that was not taking into consideration this usage of the word: “The fruits of his labor.” The confusion for me came into play in such word usages as these:
The fruit in the basket consisted of pineapple, bananas, plums, and mangos.
as opposed to
The fruits in the basket consisted of pineapple, bananas, plums, and mangos.
Let me guess, you’re not an English major.
Guilty as charged. I majored in music.
Noted, but what does this have to do with the fruit of the Spirit?
Plenty, as you will soon see. I stated in “The Undervalued Art of Being Thankful, Part 2,” something that I must today amend…
But before we can spend much time on producing the Spirit’s fruit, we need be able to see how to approach exhibiting the nine fruit in our lives on a daily basis. This means learning how to walk in the Spirit.²
Do you see the bold words, the nine fruit, above? Therein lies the problem. There aren’t nine fruit. There is only one fruit of the Spirit.
Seriously, I am not pulling your leg. I happened to be looking back at this passage of Scripture on the Blue Letter Bible website, one of my favorite places for studying the Word, and discovered that the Greek word for fruit in this passage, karpos [καρπός], is the singular form of the word.
An apple tree produces apples but the fruit (singular) of the tree is the apple. Any given apple will vary in appearance on the same tree, but they are all the same type of apple. In the same way, God’s Spirit “tree” produces love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control, but the fruit is singular, just as God is One, (though He is expressed in three persons, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.) The nine components of the singular fruit are varying shades, or nuances of the same fruit.
Okay, so does this change anything?
Well, yes and no.
In one sense, knowing that there is only one fruit of the Spirit simplifies things. I only have to keep track of ONE thing. In this more complicated day and age, keeping track of just one fruit is helpful.
On the other hand, knowing I lack in one, we’ll call it aspect, of the nine-aspect fruit, then my fruit is incomplete, and therefore, bitter, because it is not fully developed. In addition, I am left with no “props” for my Christian walk. I can no longer say, “Well, I may be lacking in self-control, but I definitely have patience, kindness, gentleness, and faithfulness down cold.”
What good is fruit that is not fully developed?
Apple trees that do not get enough calcium develop something called “bitter pit” and taste bitter. External symptoms are dark, sunken spots on the surface and browning flesh. The problem can begin to develop or worsen after harvesting.
In the same way, if I am incomplete in the nine aspects of the ONE fruit of the Spirit, I need to get more “bone meal”, more of The Rock, which is Christ (1 Corinthians 10:4.)
If we back up just a little bit in Galatians chapter 5, everything becomes more clear:
But I say, walk and live [habitually] in the [Holy] Spirit [responsive to and controlled and guided by the Spirit]; then you will certainly not gratify the cravings and desires of the flesh (of human nature without God). For the desires of the flesh are opposed to the [Holy] Spirit, and the [desires of the] Spirit are opposed to the flesh (godless human nature); for these are antagonistic to each other [continually withstanding and in conflict with each other], so that you are not free but are prevented from doing what you desire to do. But if you are guided (led) by the [Holy] Spirit, you are not subject to the Law.
Now the doings (practices) of the flesh are clear (obvious)…
The desires (we’ll call them fruit) of the flesh (human nature without God) is juxtaposed with the desires (fruit) of the Spirit (Holy Spirit). They each have different aspects, but in each case, they are singular.
The key, then, may be found in verse sixteen, where it says to “walk and live [habitually] in the [Holy] Spirit [responsive to and controlled and guided by the Spirit]; then you will certainly not gratify the cravings and desires of the flesh (of human nature without God).”
I have so far to go.
But thanks be to God, for where sin abounds, Grace abounds much more [Romans 5:20].
Read: Galations 5:16-23; Romans 5; Romans 8:1-3; Ephesians 2:1-15; 1 Corinthians 10:4. Journal your private thoughts.
Father God, take me back to the beginning, to simplicity in my walk with Jesus. I give You free reign to come and change me into the image of Christ, to do what it takes. I trust You. Amen.
¹Galatians 5:22-23. Scripture quotations taken from the Amplified® Bible, Copyright © 1954, 1958, 1962, 1964, 1965, 1987 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission. www.Lockman.org
²”The Undervalued Art of Being Thankful, Part 2.” Embracing Grace Blog. Deborah J. Fischer. 4 Apr 2011. <http://erinelise.com/?p=886>
³Galatians 5:16-19a. Scripture quotations taken from the Amplified® Bible, Copyright © 1954, 1958, 1962, 1964, 1965, 1987 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission. www.Lockman.org
4Galatians 5:16. Scripture quotations taken from the Amplified® Bible, Copyright © 1954, 1958, 1962, 1964, 1965, 1987 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission. www.Lockman.org
Copyright © 2011, Érin Elise