Updated on March 28, 2015
The Fruit of the Spirit is Tangible…
“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.” –Galatians 5:22-23, ESV
Fruit. In this case, the Greek word used for fruit is “karpos”. As I dug deeper and deeper into the root of this word, beauty emerged from what seemed otherwise commonplace. Over and over again, a phrase or parts of a phrase kept coming through. Greek word after word spoke quietly something I didn’t know my soul really needed.
Fruit is “plucked.” Take a look:
- karpos — fruit (as plucked)
- harpazo — pluck, pull, take
For something to be plucked, it has to be visible. It has to have form. It must be tangible. you cannot pluck nothing; for in order to pluck, you must feel, grasp, and pull. Something plucked is not an esoteric concept to be contemplated. When you pluck a cherry off a tree, it isn’t considering the concept of theory of a cherry. You actually grab the thing and pull.
For something to be plucked, it must be real. And the fruit of the Spirit is pluckable.
So often, we teach the fruit of the Spirit with the final tag line of something akin to “can others see the fruit in your life.” There is nothing necessarily wrong with this approach, and I have used it in my own teaching. But in this study, in searching the Greek and the scriptures, that lesson became burdensome–and not in a good way. Frankly, I couldn’t muster the care as to whether someone else could see the fruit. Battle weary with more battles to come, in the midst of verbal onslaughts raining lies into my life, it was not possible for me to care whether that person would ever verbalize that they could see the fruit. So much of my faith has been lived out from leadership positions, in full vision of others, I had lived the “can they see it” life. And I couldn’t tell you the answer.
I needed more. And as I asked for wisdom, He faithfully showed me a different angle to the plucking. It isn’t just that the fruit is tangible to others. The fruit is tangible to me. As the Spirit molds and shapes my life, this promise that the fruit of the Spirit will come means that I will be able to see it. I will be able to touch and grasp and feel the fruit growing. I would be able to point it out for myself, see it changing me.
No longer need we be so concerned as to whether that hard-to-love person sees the love. His promise is that it will be tangible to us. I need not wait for another’s affirmation, for He already affirms that I will see the change. That I will feel the difference. And that the fruit He grows in my by His Spirit will make a tangible difference to me.
Our relationship with Jesus can be all the more intimate as we notice the shine on the apple of patience, and thank Him for growing that one. The sweetness of the raspberry of patience will be tasted, and we go to Him asking for more. And the nutrients from the avocado of self-control enriches our lives in ways that we recognize as only coming from Him.
As we study the fruit of the Spirit, take heart. For the fruit is tangible. And YOU will be able to see it.