For the kingdom of God is not eating and drinking, but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit. (Romans 14:17) The kingdom of God is not an external reality as we know kingdoms. It is the presence of God within us. And God manifests Himself as righteousness, peace, and joy.
The righteousness of God convicts us of our sin. It is the mirror that He holds up to show us all the blotchy areas that need cleaning up. He does not condemn us, He just helps us be clean. By confessing our sin, we become righteous before Him. The more we allow Him to show us our blotchy areas, the cleaner we become.
With a guilt-free heart, we can truly experience peace and joy. When we live with unconfessed sin that we know we have to deal with, we may have times of being happy, but not true joy. That joy comes from God. Peace comes from knowing our hearts are right with Him.
As we grow closer to Him and let Him convict us of sin, unforgiveness, and bad attitudes, our hearts become more and more pure, and like a crystal bell, we begin to resound with His joy — the kind of joy you can have no matter what happens. Don’t pull back from conviction. You need it to live in peace and joy.