Joy in the kingdom of God comes by God’s grace. “For the Kingdom of God does not consist of eating and drinking, but of right conduct, peace and joy, through the Holy Spirit; and whoever in this way devotedly serves Christ, God takes pleasure in him, and men highly commend him.” Romans 14:17-18 WNT
This how we learned what love is: He gave His life for us. We too should give our lives for our fellow Christians. If anyone has this world’s goods and sees his fellow Christian is in need but shuts his heart against him, how can he still be loving God? Children, let us not love only in words or in talk but let us put our love into action and make it real. 1 Jn 3:16-18 AAT
Love is patient. Love is kind. Love isn’t jealous. It doesn’t brag or get conceited. It isn’t indecent. It isn’t selfish. It doesn’t get angry. It doesn’t plan to hurt anyone. It doesn’t delight in evil but is happy with the truth. It bears everything, believes everything, hopes for everything, endures everything. 1 Cor 13:4-7 AAT
For you were called to be free, brothers; only don’t use this freedom as an opportunity for the flesh, but serve one another through love. Gal 5:13 HCSB
God has put the body together, giving greater honor to the less honorable, so that there would be no divisions in the body, but that the members would have the same concern for each other. So if one member suffers, all the members suffer with it; if one member is honored, all the members rejoice with it. Now you are the body of Christ,t and individual members of it. 1Co 12:24b-37 HCSB
We serve Christ when we love one another in such ways. This brings forth joy, beginning in our homes and extending to those in His church.
When we do works of service, joy wells up in our hearts and in the hearts of the recipients.
When we edify one another joy wells up in our hearts and spirits.
So then, we must pursue what promotes peace and what builds up [edifies] one another. Ro 14:19 HCSB
Paul found great joy in those who God put in his care. We can rejoice for similar things we find in one another.
In addition to our comfort, we rejoiced even more over the joy Titus had, because his spirit was refreshed by all of you. 2 Co 7:13b HCSB
I give thanks to my God for every remembrance of you, always praying with joy for all of you in my every prayer, because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now. Php 1:3-4 HCSB
If then there is any encouragement in Christ, if any consolation of love, if any fellowship with the Spirit, if any affection and mercy, fulfill my joy by thinking the same way, having the same love, sharing the same feelings, focusing on one goal. Php 2:1-2 HCSB
So then, my dear friends, just as you have always obeyed, not only in my presence, but now even more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling. For it is God who is working in you, enabling you both to desire and to work out His good purpose. Do everything without grumbling and arguing, so that you may be blameless and pure, children of God who are faultless in a crooked and perverted generation, among whom you shine like stars in the world. Hold firmly to the message of life. Then I can boast in the day of Christ that I didn’t run or labor for nothing. But even if I am poured out as a drink offering on the sacrifice and service of your faith, I am glad and rejoice with all of you. In the same way you should also be glad and rejoice with me. Phl 2:12-18 HCSB
So then, my brothers, you are dearly loved and longed for — my joy and crown. In this manner stand firm in the Lord, dear friends. Php 4:1 HCSB
For who is our hope or joy or crown of boasting in the presence of our Lord Jesus at His coming? Is it not you? For you are our glory and joy!1Th 2:20 HCSB
To Timothy. I thank God, whom I serve with a clear consciencee as my ancestors did, when I constantly remember you in my prayers night and day. Remembering your tears, I long to see you so that I may be filled with joy, clearly recalling your sincere faith that first lived in your grandmother Lois, then in your mother Eunice, and that I am convinced is in you also.2Ti 1:3-5 HCSB
To Philemon. I always thank my God when I mention you in my prayers, because I hear of your love and faith toward the Lord Jesus and for all the saints. I pray that your participation in the faith may become effective through knowing every good thing that is in us for the glory of Christ. For I have great joy and encouragement from your love, because the hearts of the saints have been refreshed through you, brother. Phm 1:4-7 HCSB
Though I have many things to write to you, I don’t want to do so with paper and ink. Instead, I hope to be with you and talk face to face so that our joy may be complete. 2Jo 1:12 HCSB
I have no greater joy than this: to hear that my children are walking in the truth. 3Jo 1:4 HCSB
In Hebrews, we are exhorted: “Remember your leaders who have spoken God’s word to you. As you carefully observe the outcome of their lives, imitate their faith” (Heb 13:7 HCSB).
We would do well to imitate Paul’s faith. He clearly shows joy does not rely on circumstances.
We give no opportunity for stumbling to anyone, so that the ministry will not be blamed. But as God’s ministers, we commend ourselves in everything:
- by great endurance, by afflictions,
- by hardship, by difficulties,
- by beatings, by imprisonments,
- by riots, by labors,
- by sleepless nights, by times of hunger,
- by purity, by knowledge,
- by patience, by kindness,
- by the Holy Spirit, by sincere love,
- by the message of truth,
- by the power of God;
- through weapons of righteousness
- on the right hand and the left,
- through glory and dishonor,
- through slander and good report;
- as deceivers yet true;
- as unknown yet recognized;
- as dying and look — we live;
- as being disciplined yet not killed;
- grieving yet always rejoicing;
- as poor yet enriching many;
- as having nothing yet possessing everything. 2 Co 6:3-10 HCSB
Obey your leaders and submit to them, for they keep watch over your souls as those who will give an account, so that they can do this with joy and not with grief, for that would be unprofitable for you. Heb 13:17 HCSB
God our Father makes it possible for us to walk in the light. He has cleansed us by the blood of Jesus to make us right with Himself. Shortly after He raised Jesus from the dead and seated Him at His right in heaven, God poured out the Holy Spirit. Then, He delivered us from the power of darkness and transferred us into the kingdom of His Son.
Jesus reigns over His kingdom through the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is the earnest of our inheritance, which is the kingdom of God. Just as we are saved and will be saved, we are in the kingdom that is and will be in the kingdom that is to come. Jesus must reign as king until all enemies are destroyed. The last enemy is death. When death is destroyed, Jesus will hand over His kingdom to God our Father and God will live with us in the new heaven and new earth.
The moment we believed in Jesus, God cleansed us, saved us and made us new creatures created in Christ Jesus, indwelt by the Holy Spirit. We follow Jesus in the Holy Spirit. Thus, we are able to walk in the light as God is in the light.
For the kingdom of God is not eating and drinking, but righteousness [right conduct], peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit. Whoever serves Christ in this way is acceptable to God and approved by men. Ro 14:17-18 HCSB
We serve Christ by walking in right conduct, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit. As the Spirit helps us get to know Messiah Jesus better, we become more and more like Him. By sharing His noble life with us, He helps us spend our lives being useful and productive in God’s service. We often ignore or otherwise quench His promptings, but they keep coming up from deep within from the Holy Spirit to our spirit.
So then, my beloved, just as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your salvation with fear and trembling; for it is God who is at work in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure. Php 2:12-13 NASB
Right conduct in the kingdom of God
Let the righteous person continue to do what is right. And let the holy person continue to be holy. Rev 22:11 ISV
The Holy Spirit helps us walk in right conduct. Our right conduct is demonstrated by how we relate with God, one another and unbelievers. Christ our king leads us to walk as He walked on this earth. He leads by love saying, “If you love Me, you will keep My commands” (Jn 14:15 HCSB).. He does not rule by the Law, for He brought grace and truth (Jn 1:17).
In Ephesians 4, Paul gives us the big picture of how Messiah Jesus leads us to conduct ourselves in contrast to people of the world.
Therefore, I say this and testify in the Lord: You should no longer walk as the Gentiles walk, in the futility of their thoughts. They are darkened in their understanding, excluded from the life of God, because of the ignorance that is in them and because of the hardness of their hearts. They became callous and gave themselves over to promiscuity for the practice of every kind of impurity with a desire for more and more.
But that is not how you learned about the Messiah, assuming you heard about Him and were taught by Him, because the truth is in Jesus. You took off your former way of life, the old self that is corrupted by deceitful desires; you are being renewed in the spirit of your minds; you put on the new self, the one created according to God’s likeness in righteousness and purity of the truth.
Since you put away lying, Speak the truth, each one to his neighbor, because we are members of one another. Be angry and do not sin. Don’t let the sun go down on your anger, and don’t give the Devil an opportunity. The thief must no longer steal. Instead, he must do honest work with his own hands, so that he has something to share with anyone in need. No foul language is to come from your mouth, but only what is good for building up someone in need, so that it gives grace to those who hear. And don’t grieve God’s Holy Spirit. You were sealed by Him for the day of redemption. All bitterness, anger and wrath, shouting and slander must be removed from you, along with all malice. And be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving one another, just as God also forgave you in Christ. Eph 4:17-32 HCSB CF 1 Peter 2:11-12; Php 2:1-4
Living up to that would do much for our relationships with one another. Especially:
You took off your former way of life, the old self that is corrupted by deceitful desires; you are being renewed in the spirit of your minds; you put on the new self, the one created according to God’s likeness in righteousness and purity of the truth.
Peace in the kingdom of God
Right conduct leads to peace. Peace with one another is the environment of God’s kingdom in which we thrive.
The Holy Spirit produces virtues in us that are the stuff of peace. Paul puts them in stark contrast to the works of the flesh (Gal 5:16-25).
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, meekness, self-control; against such there is no law. And they that are of Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with the passions and the lusts thereof.
If we live by the Spirit, by the Spirit let us also walk. Let us not become vainglorious, provoking one another, envying one another. Gal 5:22-25 ASV
“If we live by the Spirit, by the Spirit let us also walk.” We walk by the Spirit, in love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, meekness, self-control. This makes for deep, fulfilling relationships filled with joy.
Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God; and every one that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God. He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love. 1 Jn 4:7-8 KJV
We thrive in love one another relationships that are described by words derived from the Greek koin, meaning common. We share in common. Koinonia is translated communion, community, communication, distribution, fellowship, and partnership. Our actions are identified with koinoneo, translated share, communicate, distributing and be partaker. Koinonos means a companion, partner and partaker.
Those words describe our kindred relationships in Christ. They are the result of God working through us all to “live as people whom God has called should live.”
So I, a prisoner in the Lord, urge you to live as people whom God has called should live. Be humble and gentle in every way, be patient and lovingly bear with one another. Do your best to keep the oneness of the Spirit by living together in peace/shalom: one body and one Spirit—even as you have been called to share one hope—one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who rules over us all, works through us all, and lives in us all. Eph 4:1-6 AAT
The oneness of the Spirit brings mutual concord among us. When we live “as people whom God has called should live,” our right conduct helps develop peace and joy in the Holy Spirit. And, we get to live in that kingdom environment as we look for the kingdom that is to come (Rev 21-22; Heb 13:14).
That walk is ordained of God.
For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them. Eph 2:8-10 NASB