Many of us have never been in the military, and I think it’s a stretch to think that we can even begin to fathom how much discipline is required to be a successful soldier. The closest I have ever come to military barracks is what I have seen in movies. I remember being in a job interview and the question was, “Did you make your bed this morning?” My response was, “Yes, but you can’t bounce a quarter off of it.” Most military bunks are made up so tightly that a quarter can be bounced off them, shoes are shined, and one’s uniform is impeccable. These are some requirements seen by outsiders, but what about what can’t been seen? For example, a soldier’s physical stamina, submission to authorities, self-control, discipline, discipline, and more discipline.
The Bible tells us that we are like soldiers in the Lord’s army (2 Timothy 2:3-4), and some of us remember the song we sang in Vacation Bible School: “I may never march in the infantry, ride in the cavalry, shoot the artillery. I may never fly o’er the enemy, but I’m in the Lord’s army. Yes, sir! I’m in the Lord’s army. Yes, sir!” (Insert eye roll here for the cheesy childhood memory.)
We want to be disciplined. We want to be successful and obedient soldiers because we know God’s ways are the best ways and His training leads us to the most prosperous life. We love God and know that He is not a drill sergeant or evil taskmaster. He is our loving Father. In our endeavors to be all that He created us to be and in our quest to do the things we know are good for us, we can often get weary and tired. Exercising, trying to eat right, keeping a peaceful and orderly home, doing excellent work at our job site, reading our Bibles, or spending time in prayer are on our lists. These are all good habits and disciplines, but when the focus becomes the discipline and our own determination, we burn out. Our human gasoline tanks can only last for so many miles.
I believe our Heavenly Father, our all-knowing Commander-in-Chief, is giving us the warmest order ever: “At ease, soldier.” I want to be disciplined in staying at ease, disciplined in leaning on His strength, and disciplined in allowing Him to fight my battles. There is a discipline to staying at ease, seated with Him and knowing that the battle has been won. Yes, I will keep putting on my running shoes and exercising even though I wrestle through every minute of it. We will continue to love those around us even when it is so very difficult, but we will do it in a position of ease. There are very few beds that you can bounce a quarter off of (or very few abs, for that matter). As we relax in His strength, that is when the true victory comes.