Discipline without Direction is Drudgery
Don Whitney writes:
"Discipline without direction is drudgery. But the Spiritual Disciplines are never drudgery as long as we practice them with the goal of Godliness in mind. If your picture of a disciplined Christian is one of a grim, tight-lipped, joyless half-robot, then you've missed the point. Jesus was the most disciplined Man who ever lived and yet the most joyful and passionately alive. He is our Example of discipline. Let us follow Him to joy through the Spiritual Disciplines." - p. 24
My observations: We often follow godliness as some ambiguous idea, a misty mystery of drippy spirituality speaking puffy but pointless platitudes and cluttered cliches. Or, on the other side, we fall off into a rule-based regulatory regimen created by men for divine extra-credit. This is why, I think, we often end up with "grim, tight-lipped, joyless" robots of religion. But in the Scriptures, godliness and holiness are not vague ideas, rather, in the New Testament, God has put a face on godliness. The face of godliness and the figure of holiness in the New Testament is Jesus Christ. He is what holiness and godliness look like. If there are things that Jesus did which trouble you (like dine and drink with sinners or overturn tables), or if even Jesus could not live up to your extra-credit system (he did have a beard you know), then your understanding of godliness and holiness must be re-framed. Jesus is the direction of our godliness; Christ-likeness the goal of all our religion. If it (whatever it is) does not conform to that picture then it should be cut away as excess, and if it is excess it should not be added back in.