One of my favorite lines from the movie My Big Fat Greek Wedding comes from the scene in which Toula’s father gives a toast at her wedding reception. He explains that their surname, “Portokalos”, means “orange” and that Toula’s husband’s (and her new) surname, “Miller”, means “apple”. He then concludes, “In the end, we’re all fruit”. From then on, I couldn’t help but think of Nia Vardalos, Lainie Kazan, Andrea Martin, and Michael Constantine every time I saw fruit!
What’s the point of mentioning Greek weddings and fruit? Similar story– When I was a young child and it came time to learn about “The Fruit of the Spirit”, I would literally visualize fruit. I heard and read this: “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control” (Galatians 5:22-23, NASB95). However, I pictured this:
You know, it’s not far off. In Galatians 5:22 Paul uses the Greek word karpos which does indeed refer to fruit. Yet, it goes beyond literal apples, oranges, and grapes to offer us a visual for understanding how we must live. The conjunction “but” in Galatians 5:22 designates the existence of a rational relationship in the text; specifically, it designates a contrasting connection to the immediately preceding text. The term “fruit of the Spirit” in verse twenty-two is used in direct contrast to the “deeds of the flesh” in verse nineteen.
“For the flesh sets its desire against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; for these are in opposition to one another, so that you may not do the things that you please” (Galatians 5:17, NASB95).
“Now the deeds of the flesh are evident, which are: immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmities, strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, disputes, dissensions, factions, envying, drunkenness, carousing, and things like these” (Galatians 5:19-21, NASB95).
Essentially, the question is: Is it evident that we now live according to the life we have been given by the Holy Spirit?
Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control are qualities which ought to be evidenced in what we do and say AND in what we refrain from doing and saying. The manner in which we live should produce such “fruit”.
How can I know if my life is producing such “fruit”?
Well, the best way is to consider God’s perspective. What is God’s perspective of love? Joy? Peace? Patience? That said, I thought that I would do something a little different this week. So I’ve compiled some scripture references into an “Apples, Oranges, and Grapes” daily reading suggestion of sorts. Here are the suggested “portions” for ten days of studying about God’s perspective on the fruit of the Spirit:
* Please note that this daily reading is meant to escort you to select passages of Scripture with fruit of the Spirit themes. To more fully appreciate and benefit from this daily reading, I would encourage you to read the verses in their (specific and general) context. Knowing a verse’s context helps clarify its meaning and profound relevance!