The best television shows in my opinion are usually the ones that are in black and white. The simplicity of entertainment without having to rely on gutter humor to get a laugh is just appealing to me. My absolute favorite television show is The Andy Griffith Show. When it comes to Andy Griffith trivia, I am a veteran! I would love to just hang around Barney Fife all day long. With his tender heart, he would be a great friend to have. In the show, Barney is great at his job as number two man in the Mayberry county police force. He is great as a follower. But Barney is a terrible leader. In fact, every time Barney has a chance to lead in Andy’s absence on the show, he never fails to mess things up. Barney Fife wants so badly to be respected and to be a man in every sense of the word. But although Deputy Fife is a good guy, the truth is that he is a coward, he is selfish in always wanting things to be done on his terms, and he is weak willed.
Pastor Jon Beck pointed out in a recent sermon that we have alot of Barney Fife’s in our world today. Men that will pound their chests and tout the reasons why they are men with strong words, but their actions betray them. They claim to be strong yet they are weak. They claim to be leaders, yet them trying to lead their families is akin to Deputy Fife trying to be sheriff. Its just chaotic. Our secular world defines manhood by so many trivial things. Sports, hunting, fast cars, are all bragging points for men. For some reason, we as men tend to think that in some way, being good or interested in these things validates us to men and makes us more appealing to women. Men today look more to the world for their example than to our God who set the example, Jesus Christ. And Ive yet to see anywhere in scripture where Jesus manhood or leadership was defined by his hunting skills or through his knowledge of sports statistics. Jesus was no Barney Fife. Jesus was the quintessential man. He is the prototype and the blue print for what it means to be a leader and a man. And I want to touch on just a few ways in which Christ exemplified true manhood.
Real Men Take Responsiblity
Real man take responsiblity for their family, they dont pass the blame. In the garden of Eden, we can see immediately that Adam was a bit of a Barney. As you recall, it was Eve who initially disobeyed Gods command and ate of the fruit that God forbid. Then she brought the fruit to her husband Adam, and he part took in eating as well. It was Eve who first sinned, and then it was Eve who convinced Adam to do the same. Men today will make jokes, saying things like, “If Eve hadn’t eaten that fruit, we wouldnt have the mess of a world we have today.” They are basically saying that the fall of man is the womans fault. Even Adam said this. After Adam and Eve had sinned, God approached him and basically asked what had happened. And Adam said this;
“The woman you put here with me—she gave me some fruit from the tree, and I ate it.” Genesis 3:12.
“She made me do it! It was the womans fault not mine!” That was Adam’s defense. But again, notice in the Genesis account that God confronted Adam regarding the sin, not Eve. You see, when Eve ate of the fruit initially, Adam was no where around her. He had lost sight of his wife, and was not guarding her. As the leader, Eve was given to Adam as his responsiblity. He was to lead her, and to not let her wander into deception. There is no doubt that Eve would be held accountable for her sin. But it was Adam that would be held in higher account for Eve.
The call to manhood is a privilege but also a great responsiblity. How many marriages today have fallen apart because the man neglected to lead his wife spiritually and allowed her to drift off into the deceptions of the world. The secular man is quick to defend himself and cast blame.
“She just doesnt make ME happy.”
“Our bad relationship is HER fault.”
“She first ate the forbidden fruit, not me.”
“Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless.” Ephesians 5:25-27.
The first element in being a REAL man is the word. The Bible tells us that God is love. Therefore, if we as men are not plugged directly into the only source of true love, then we can’t know real love, much less give it. Without Christ, we can only know the worlds version of love, which in all reality is no love at all. Rather, the worlds version of love is just a tolerance stating as long as I am happy, Ill love you.
Look at the examples of how we use the word love by our worlds standards.
We LOVE food…as long as it satisfies our hunger.
We LOVE our pets…until they pee on the carpet.
We LOVE our sports teams…until they have a losing record.
We LOVE our spouse…unless we become unhappy or something new comes along.
Our world has absolutely no idea what real love is. Worldly love is conditional. It is selfishly based on our needs, wants, and desires being met. Worldly love is all about us. But lets examine this.
“Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love.” 1 John 4:8.
If we truly believe the Bible, then we know that the true definition of love is only found in God. Unlike worldly love, Gods love is unconditional. Gods love doesnt look to self, but to others, literally dying to self. Gods love doesnt count costs and pass blame, but takes responsiblity for things, even when the fault is not your own. How easy would it have been for God to look down on humanity and say, “Those humans have lived as adluterers, chasing after other loves and breaking my commandments. They were the ones in the wrong, so Ill have nothing to do with them. I will have no more relationship with them.”
But God did the opposite. Even though the fault was ours for our rebellion against God in our sins, it was Christ who took the responsiblity to bear our sins. He took the blame and punishment to the point of dying for us. Could Jesus have thrown his hands up and claimed that we didnt make him happy, therefore he wouldnt love us anymore? Absolutely he could have! Remember in the garden of Gethsemane when soldiers came to arrest Christ? Peter attacked one of the soldier to defend Jesus, and Jesus said this to Peter;
“Put your sword back in its place,” Jesus said to him, “for all who draw the sword will die by the sword. Do you think I cannot call on my Father, and he will at once put at my disposal more than twelve legions of angels? But how then would the Scriptures be fulfilled that say it must happen in this way?” Matthew 26:52-54.
“In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself.After all, no one ever hated their own body, but they feed and care for their body, just as Christ does the church— for we are members of his body. “For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.”This is a profound mystery—but I am talking about Christ and the church.However, each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband.” Ephesians 5:28-33.
God doesnt call men to love their spouses and families like the world. We men of God are called to a higher responsiblity. We are called to love our wives, and to love our children like Jesus loves us. We are called to sacrifice for our wives and children like Jesus sacrificed for us. We are to be the peace makers in our families, EVEN WHEN WE ARE NOT TO BLAME….because Jesus made peace with us while we were still sinners…while we were still hurting Him with our rebellion.
“But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” Romans 5:8.
Paul goes on to say in the Ephesians verse above to state that this kind of love is a profound mystery to the world, but Paul says this mysterious kind of love can be described by seeing it in view of Christ and His church. That is the picture of real love. The example of REAL manhood is not Barney Fife, but Jesus Christ.
So I ask any man who may be reading this; are you a Barney Fife? Do you pride yourself on being a man but fail to lead your family? Are you more concerned with your kids being involved in twenty different sports and with their athletic achievements, or is their spiritual condition of the utmost importance? Do you spend time daily leading them in family worship and teach them the Word daily, or do you rely on the church to do this? The job of leading your kids spiritually is not the pastor nor the youth ministers job. The church is their for support. It is the head of the house, the man, that God has charged with instilling Godly knowledge into children.
As it pertains to your wife, do you look for flaws in her? Do you complain of her short comings and mock her falling into deception? Do you chastise her for her lack of Godliness? As the man just as it was with Adam, it will be you that is held accountable before God for the spiritual condition of your wife. Are you washing her daily with the water of Gods Word? The word ‘Christian’ literally is translated to mean, ‘little Jesus.’ Are you a Barney or an imitation of your Heavenly father? Our world has far to many Barney’s. And though Barney speaks a big game, in the end he all talk. Manhood is meant for men. Real men. The world is full of little boys with facial hair. But puberty doesnt make the man, Jesus Christ does.
If you have been a Barney, let this be a new day in the life of your family. Begin to set a time each night to huddle up your family and read from Gods word. Teach the scriptures to your children weekly, and explain to them the Gospel. If you yourself dont understand the Gospel, make it a priority to seek out your pastor and express to him your desire to be a real man and to lead your family. Submerse yourself in the scriptures. And bathe your wife in the word of God. Lead her, pray with her, and love her with a love that is virtually unknown to our fallen world. Its time to MAN-UP! Its time to take responsiblity and lead our families as men in light of eternity! What an awesome privilege we have in Christ!!