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I recently heard a man named Crawford Loritts speak about a man's need to do what must be done even when he doesn't feel like doing it.  He went on to explain that many people - the majority of people, perhaps - live their lives based on emotions and feelings.  Most men make decisions based on how they feel rather than on what must be done.

I believe Mr. Loritts has correctly analyzed the state of manhood today.

I love watching the "Andy Griffith Show".  Of course the show is no longer airing today, but my family has accumulated many of the show's DVDs and we watch them quite frequently.  The reason I personally enjoy them so much is that they illustrate values that are
far too uncommon today.  It's rare to see a father outside playing catch with his son or to see a father walking with his small son down to the river, hauling with them fishing poles and an old bucket.  The "Andy Griffith Show" idealizes many of the things I long for today: slower-paced living, moral awareness, and respect toward others.  To top it all off, the main characters, Andy Griffith and Barney Fife (Don Knotts), are absolutely hilarious together either.

But I don't want to just reminiscence about television shows, no matter how great they are.  I believe there is a lesson to be learned here.

Specifically, I heard Mr. Loritts (and many others) speak at a men's conference.  Each speaker spoke of what it meant to be a godly man, husband, and father.  Oh how pitiful the nation is that no longer has any men.

Oh sure, there are still men - at least biologically.  But too many of these men make decisions, as I stated earlier, based on emotion.  Look at our nation's divorce rate, single-mothers raising children, and welfare system, for instance.  Nearly all of these men have made a decision based on their feelings.

"I don't love her anymore," says one man who is filing for divorce with his wife.  What the man is talking about is not committed love that is to be evident in marriage, but the feeling of love.

"I don't have time to deal with children," says another man who finds out his girlfriend is pregnant.  What the man, of course, in this case is saying is, "I sure had fun with you those couple nights, but now the fun is over so I'm out of here."

Still, another man lays in bed until noon, perhaps depressed, but certainly lazy.  "When are you going to go find a job?" asks his nagging wife.  "I don't feel like it," he responds.

Yet, there are still other men who are visible in public with their families, who play catch with their kids, who are involved as Bible study leaders in the local church, and who tell their wives they love them.  But when no one else is watching (that is, except for God), they take out their smartphone and feed their feelings of sexual desire with pornography.

In all these cases - and each one is legitimate and real - the man has shirked his responsibility to his wife, his family, and to God.  He has set aside the right thing in order to do what he wants to do.

Men, enough is enough.  Love your wife... even when you don't feel like it.  Buy your wife flowers... even when you don't feel like it.  Listen and engage in conversation with your wife... even when you don't feel like it.

On a side note, the other night my wife, Lauren, wanted me to sit on the couch with her after supper and talk.  We sat down on the couch, but very little talking actually took place.  As the time passed by, I told her I was going to go file our taxes to which she responded quite emphatically, "No.  I want to talk to you."  In my mind, I screamed inaudibly to myself, "Well then talk, woman!"  I gave up and sat with her, later asking if I could massage her shoulders.  I didn't want to do any of that - I wanted to file our taxes and check that box off my to do list - but I knew it would mean a lot to her to know I valued spending time with her.

Certainly, the same principle applies to young men as sons: "honor your parents" the Lord says and "obey your parents."  If you are a young man, start obeying the Word of God.  Obey your parents not because you want to, but because it's right.  Treat young women with respect, as sisters, unto the Lord.  You will feel like using them for your enjoyment - face-to-face or via the internet - but behave righteously.  Do it because it is the right thing to do.

This is the quality I think we are missing today among men.  "Do the right thing" used to be a common phrase.  Andy Griffith would tell his son Opie to do the right thing.  But today, the statement has morphed into the opposite: "Do what seems right to you."  Seriously?

Still, the same principle of doing the right thing can and should be applied to spending time with God.  Do it even when you don't feel like it.  That is the only way to grow in your faith and be sanctified into Christ's image.

Just the other day, on Sunday morning, I woke up at 6:00 AM.  I wanted to lay in bed.  On the other hand, I thought of at least twenty other things I could do that morning.  Instead, I went out to the living room, opened my Bible, and read for nearly an hour.  Then I prayed.  Nothing exciting happened.  God didn't speak to me in a way that sent chills down my spine or tears down my face or a giant smile across my face.  But I did it because I knew it was what I needed to do.

At the men's conference there was also a speaker named Dr. Stu Weber.  Dr. Weber shared the powerful testimony of his father who read the Bible and prayed consistently over the course of his life.  His mother was a hard woman to live with, he said, yet through his father's commitment to love her and spend time with God, she was eventually won to the Lord.  Furthermore, as a result of his father's faithfulness to God, every single direct descendant - sons, daughters, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren: thirty-eight in all! - are followers of Christ.

Amazing stories such as these can leave us feeling far too inadequate to accomplish great things like Dr. Weber's father did.  Will their be moments of weakness?  Duh.  Pardon my unprofessional verbage, but God knows we fall short and will continue to fall short.  But He also knows who His Son is and why He came.  God's not asking you to be perfect; He's asking you to strive for perfection.

In closing, one of the most influential verses in my life was written by the apostle Paul: "Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize?  Run in such a way as to get the prize.  Everyone who competes in the games go into strict training.  They do it to get a crown that will not last, but we do it to get a crown that will last forever.  Therefore, I do not run aimlessly.  I do not fight like a man beating the air.  No, I beat my body and I make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified from the prize" (I Corinthians 9:24-27).

Paul was saying that he disciplined his body to do the right thing, not based on feelings but based on truth.  We are running a race, gentleman, not a sprint.  Emotions are a sprint.  They don't last long, but they sure are powerful.  We are in a marathon.  Life is a marathon.  Emotions certainly accompany us along the way, but they will not finish the race.  We must put on truth, doing what must be done regardless of how we feel.

May God bless you and may He raise up men across the world who seek Him, men worthy of following the call of Christ.

“Have you trained your mind in the gymnasium of God’s Word in order to discern righteousness?” (Dr. Stu Weber).