“16 So I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. 17 For the flesh desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the flesh. They are in conflict with each other, so that you are not to do whatever you want. 18 But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law.
19 The acts of the flesh are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; 20 idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions 21 and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God.
22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. 24 Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. 25 Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit. 26 Let us not become conceited, provoking and envying each other.”
This rather well known and oft quoted passage contrasts what it means to live according to the Spirit to what it means to live according to the flesh. In the flesh, we have all kinds of desires that run contrary to what it means to live according to or be obedient to the Spirit. In verse 22 it lists the fruit of Spirit, one of those fruit is “self-control.” While this word isn’t the same as discipline, it is a synonym.
Socrates considered this to be one of the chief virtues. Aristotle believed that a person who had this kind of self-control (ἐγκράτεια) often had strong desires but was able to suppress those desires. Further the stoics believed that this kind of sel-control actually led to freedom.
Jocko Willink the former Navy Seal wrote a book titled Discipline Equals Freedom. In it he says this, “So often, the easy path calls us: To be weak for that moment. To break down another time. To give in to desire and short-term gratification. Discipline will not allow that. Discipline calls for strength and fortitude and WILL. It won’t accept weakness. It won’t tolerate a breakdown in will.” While Jocko’s book appeals to the strength of the human will, Paul in Galatians appeals to the power of the Holy Spirit and our willingness to cooperate with the spirit by walking by the Spirit.
Take some time and pray for the Spirit’s work in your life and that you would cooperate with the Spirit. Self-control is a spiritual discipline. In what ways do you need to exercise this in your life? Pray that God would give you the strength to do it and then write down a plan to make it happen. Keep your plan modest, take a baby step.
 H. Baltensweiler, “Discipline, Prudence, Immorality, Prostitute,” ed. Lothar Coenen, Erich Beyreuther, and Hans Bietenhard, New International Dictionary of New Testament Theology (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House, 1986), 494.
 Willink, Jocko. Discipline Equals Freedom (p. 27). St. Martin's Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.