I know also, my God, that thou triest the heart, and hast pleasure in uprightness. As for me, in the uprightness of mine heart I have willingly offered all these things: and now have I seen with joy thy people, which are present here, to offer willingly unto thee: 1 Chronicles 29:17.
May the Almighty God and owner of this work bless you; it is a privilege to be able to reach to you through this medium of communication.
Along with my wife and children, I would like to greet all the International Board Members, supervisors, fellow ministers, and members in general, and each of their families, as well as friends of the Worldwide Missionary Movement who follow us around the world in this broadcast.
Today is a special day for the Worldwide Missionary Movement, because the working theme for the year 2016 will be presented. Since the foundation of this work, God has given a working theme every year, which functions as a guide for the labor that is done in the entire world. Every year one had to wait for the first national conventions of the year to then, little by little, get to know what the new theme was. However, now, thanks to the mercy of God, with the technology that the Lord has given us, we can present it to all, so that we can start enjoying, learning, and practicing the theme since the first day of January.
This is not a political campaign, nor is it a human or personal promotion.
We are using the mass media that God has given us to be able to bless His work worldwide, and in this way, be able to assist in the spreading of the gospel.
Definitively, the only one who deserves all glory and honor is our God, because He is who indicates what the theme is. We cannot forget that this Work is His.
Over the course of this year, some possible themes came to my heart, but after praying to God with sincerity about what His will was, the Lord made me understand which one it was.
Therefore, it is an honor for me to present the official working theme of the Worldwide Missionary Movement for the year 2016, which is: UPRIGHTNESS 2016: Guarantee of Communion with God!
Based on 1 Chronicles 29: 17, “I know also, my God, that thou triest the heart, and hast pleasure in uprightness. As for me, in the uprightness of mine heart I have willingly offered all these things...”
According to the “Diccionario de la Real Academia Española” (Dictionary of the Spanish Royal Academy), the word uprightness is defined as “right reasoning or practical knowledge of what has to be said or done.” It is also defined as “character of that which is right and just in the sense of ethics and moral.”
Uprightness is transparency of acts, thoughts, and words; it is freely related to matters of justice, neutrality or fairness, integrity, honesty, and equity. Therefore, when a person is led with uprightness, it is so because he acts in a correct way, is straightforward, has nothing to hide, and is genuine and transparent in all he does.
Uprightness will always depend on a close relationship with the truth. An upright person respects the truth and his or her neighbor, by rejecting hypocrisy, falsehood, deceit, astuteness, and flattery.
Uprightness is among God’s main qualities, Deuteronomy 32: 4. There are about 500 verses in the Holy Scriptures that address the topic of uprightness and justice.
Uprightness is something that depends exclusively on God, simply because He is upright. If this were something that depended on man, its meaning would be relative and would be subject to the changes humanity constantly experiences.
Remember what the Bibles says,
“Every way of a man is right in his own eyes: but the Lord pondereth the hearts,” Proverbs 21: 2. God is who determines what is or not right. Uprightness is linked closely to the will of God.
The great preacher Charles Finney, speaking about uprightness, said, “Uprightness is kept in the human soul by the dwelling of Christ through faith and not by any other means. There cannot be uprightness in a man’s heart because nothing in it can be voluntary; therefore, there cannot be any uprightness in the nature of man in the sense that implies praiseworthiness, or virtue.”
For this reason, he affirmed that men need to come closer to God to be able to achieve true uprightness.
The Holy Scriptures make a special emphasis on uprightness. Uprightness is one of the elements that characterize the “man after God’s own heart.” This is one of the things that identifies the true believer and makes him different from others. King David is known as “the man after God’s own heart,” and the Scriptures highlight the uprightness of his heart. In the history of the kings of Israel and Judah, this is mentioned in various ways, setting it as an example of what is upright and the benefits that it has.
This is of so much importance to God that the second time He appeared to Solomon, as He had done in Gibeon, He assured him that if he walked before Him as David his father had done, he would establish the throne of his kingdom upon Israel forever. How did David walk? In integrity of heart and in uprightness (justice), doing everything as he was commanded, and keeping God’s statues and commandments (1 Kings 9: 1 – 6). The Bible teaches us that God is who knows and weighs the human heart; it is impossible to deceive Him, and everything that is done must be done with integrity and uprightness.
Submission, more than knowing how to follow commands, is an honoring attitude of the heart. In a given moment, a person might feel compelled to do something, either out of commitment or duty or simply because it is his responsibility; however, even though it is done, it is not done with a feeling of pleasure, nor with the desire or intention to honor. When one loves, obeying and being submitted are not a burden but a gratifying thing.
The Holy Scriptures register the story of the reign of King Amaziah, 2 Chronicles 25, a king who did that which was right but not with a perfect heart. His problem was the lack of integrity in his heart; he did that which was right because he knew what God’s
commands were, yet his heart seemed to be far from pleasing Him. This king did many things that were good and advantageous for the people, but only because it was his responsibility. In 2 Kings 14, where this episode is also narrated, the biblical writer provides an important key.
The Bible says, “And he did that which was right in the sight of the Lord, yet not like David his father…” This teaches us that there was no uprightness or integrity in his heart, opposite to David (his father). It is very important to understand that everything that is done towards the Lord must be done, not only because one knows what is right, but also because there is the desire to please, honor and exalt His name. It is not out of convenience or profit, but with uprightness of the heart. This is the reason why it is affirmed that uprightness is the truth in what is done, said, or thought; it is the truth in the personal relationship with God, and with the neighbor.
Uprightness is one of the things being extinguished in the world today. Corruption and trickery have contaminated all social circles, from the most humble families to the elite of each country, and unfortunately, much of the church of God does not escape from this reality.
For many things to function well today, they have to be done incorrectly, using trickery, blackmail, bribery, and similar things. Sadly, he who does things in a correct way always finds obstacles. However, as sons of God, we cannot follow after the flow of this world, nor can we be conformed to this world. It is necessary to be transformed by the renewing of the mind (Romans 12: 2; Ephesians 2: 2), and to be characterized by being upright in everything.
In order to make good social and family relationships, it is necessary to have values of trustworthiness, honesty, sincerity, and loyalty. Trustworthiness and honesty imply learning to be upright, to honor the word given, and not to speak lies. All these are impossible to teach without the knowledge and help from God. Fight for the family that God has given you; seek Him faithfully; and be an example of life to each member of your home; then things will start changing and will be different.
Beloved fellow ministers, I encourage you to come closer and closer to the Lord every day. This is the only way to learn to live uprightly in this world. Remember the responsibility of being an example for the congregation where God has placed you. Remember that to God it is very significant to be able to do things with uprightness of the heart. Do not do them only because it is your responsibility, or because it is the command received, but delight in doing the will of the Lord with uprightness of the heart.
May David’s prayer be a model to cry out to God and say, “Teach me to do thy will; for thou art my God: thy spirit is good; lead me into the land of uprightness,” Psalms 143: 10.
Rev. Gustavo Martínez - International President
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