As I began the chapter on Submission, author Richard J. Foster gave what I believe could be the thesis for the whole book. Here it is:
Every Discipline has its corresponding freedom. ... The purpose of the
Disciplines is freedom. Our aim is the freedom, not the Discipline. The moment
we make the Discipline our central focus, we turn it into law and lose the
The Disciplines are for the purpose of realizing a greater good. In and of
themselves they are of no value whatever. They have value only as a means of
setting us before God so that he can give us the liberation we seek.
Now that I think about it, this is a pretty good explanation of religion in general. Religion by itself has no value, but when it is viewed as a means to freedom through God and Jesus, then its value is immeasurable!