Discipline is one of the ‘fruits of the Spirit’, as in Galatians 5:22-23. But there it’s called ‘self-control.’ Discipline (as in self-control) is extolled as a virtue, almost without equal. If you can be self-disciplined, then you can achieve almost any goal known to man. Wars are won by armies who have the most self-disciplined soldiers, from top to bottom. Their officers not only give good orders, but their troops respond well to orders, and they always fulfill their orders. Of such are great men and great events made.
But wait! What about that line that Jesus said? If you don’t come as a little child, you won’t get into heaven.” And “let the kids come to Me, for of such as these are the kingdom of heaven.” [Heaven is filled with people who are like children]. And how do you like, “Thank you Father, that you have hidden these things [things of God?] from the wise and prudent and you have revealed them unto babes.” Babes have a lot in common with children, especially little children. Who is disciplined; the wise and the prudent, or the little children? I don’t know about you, but a lot of days I feel more akin to the babes than to the wise and prudent. Often I just can’t manage to keep my life in order like it says to, either in the world or in the Bible. And my observations over six decades plus indicate there are a lot of people out there who are a lot like me. So what are we undisciplined cotton-pickers supposed to do? Since some of us, even some who have a little education and a little wisdom that comes from age, are still unable to control ourselves and our lives, what are we supposed to do? I guess we can keep on doing what we’ve been doing, which is doing the same things over and over, hoping for different results. [Somebody, not me, said that was the definition of insanity.] OR we can give up, totally surrender to God. Ourselves and our lives, good and bad, smart and dumb, disciplined and lazy, frugal and spendthrift, self-controlled and wildly erratic. I honestly don’t know about you, but I have had better results in my life the times I have given up every illusion of discipline and just trusted God. Less worry, more peace in my heart, more ability to live up to God’s expectations for me than I ever had when I was trying to do it all myself. And those times have been a whole lot more fun than the times I’ve kept my nose to the grindstone for months at a time. About all I got was a bloody nose! ‘Course, you know, you can only keep up that self discipline kick for so long before you wear out and stop through inertia.
Then you HAVE to do something different. The answer is: total surrender to God. “Trust and obey, for there’s no other way, to be happy in Jesus, but to trust and obey. . . ” “Trust and Obey”, song, J.H. Sammis, 1920.