In the 16th chapter of the Gospel of Luke, Luke takes an interesting turn in his writing. In context, its a very graphic story of those who reject the Father while on earth. A beggar named Lazarus and a rich man are the main characters. They first encounter each other at the gate leading into a city and Lazarus begs for whatever the rich man would give him. It is left to believe the rich man never relieves Lazarus’ hunger, but what we do know is when they die, in eternity Lazarus is by Abraham’s side and the rich man is in Hell. There is a great chasm between the two, and the rich man, overwhelmed with lack of anything to quench thirst, becomes the beggar, asking Abraham to have Lazarus dip the tip of his finger in water and to touch the tongue of the rich man so that he may be cooled from the agony of the fire. Abraham responds:
Son, remember that during your lifetime you had everything you wanted, and Lazarus had nothing. So now he is here being comforted, and you are in anguish. And besides, there is a great chasm separating us. No one can cross over to you from here, and no one can cross over to us from there. – Luke 16:25-26
Notice the language Abraham uses, “Remember that during your lifetime you had everything you wanted.” Abraham is bringing to him the realization of his choices on earth, where he determined what would be his source of joy. The things of the world were counterfeit to true joy, which is found in the Father through the blood of Jesus Christ. But it was the rich man’s choosing and the outcome becomes the consequence of his choice.
Joy is fruit of the Spirit. As Shannon taught the first week of our series, all nine fruit are not independent of each other. When Christ comes to live in us, we have the fruit, including joy and all eight others. We don’t have to go looking for them, as if they have to be ingested, seen, manipulated, forced, or bought. As we obey the Father, as we follow His will, the fruit grow in us and spill out of us.
The problem with the rich man in this story is he spent his entire life trying to buy joy, and it ran out. It was a counterfeit and left him empty.
We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance. And endurance develops strength of character, and character strengthens our confident hope of salvation. – Romans 5: 3-4
Ask yourself today, “What is my source for joy?” Is it your husband, wife, your career, money, or a substance or site? If it is anything other than the Lord, confess, repent, and ask the Father to help you trust in Him for joy and watch joy come alive!