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Why do we have Performance Idolatry?

By permission: N. Patrick Marica


In part 1 of the Walk Applied series, we discussed the bride of Christ, and how we know that to be the bride of Christ, we must be saved. In part 2 of the Walk Applied series, we talked about some of the properties of what it means to be saved. Then, in part 3 of the Walk Applied series, we talked about the Fall and why Free Will and choice made the Fall necessary. In Part 4, we examined the consequences of the Fall. (Click on the links above or at the bottom of this article to read the articles…) In part 5 of the Walk Applied Series we saw that Idolatry is actually made up of two belief systems: Rebellion Idolatry and Need Idolatry. We also discussed Pride – the foundation of all idolatry. In part 6 we examined Facade and Security. Now, in part 7, we will discuss the idol of Performance.


Adam and Eve denied God. They willingly and knowingly came out of Godly Authority, and, as a result, came under intermediate Satanic authority. God, in His infinite wisdom, allowed us the enormous privilege of the capability to choose or deny Him. He also graciously granted consequences for our sinful choice. Instead of simply destroying us, God’s response was to allow us an idolatrous belief system that undergird and form the foundation of our sin issues. There are two such belief systems: Rebellion Idolatry and Need Idolatry. Rebellion Idolatry consists of the idols of Pride, Performance, Security, Façade, Pleasure and Entitlement. Need Idolatry consists of: Provision, Security, Acceptance, Identity, Knowledge and Purpose.


Installment #6 in our series addressed the notion of security idolatry. The root of security idolatry is that we will believe that we are capable of taking care of ourselves regardless of the circumstances and that we don’t need God. When Adam and Eve were cast out of the garden, it became Adam’s duty to take care of both of them. Heretofore, everything they needed had been supplied. They had no concern about food or water. After the Fall, all that changed. Now Adam would be the farmer and the hunter. Presumably, Eve would now be dependent upon how well Adam could provide. The text (“… sweat of the brow”) certainly implies that Adam would struggle to provide. Thus, the better Adam performed in the execution of his responsibilities (as well as Eve, certainly), they better off they would be. From this, we can see the foundation of performance idolatry being laid.

Adam was certainly aware of the idea of community or something akin to it. After all, in chapter 2 Adam discusses the idea that we will leave our mother and father. Thus, Adam knew that there would ultimately be something called “community”. In other words, there would ultimately come a time when we would compete with others. When you couple this notion with façade idolatry, it is easy to see how performance idolatry would take a firm hold in our psyche. From these roots, the notion of “keeping up with the Jones’s” would certainly arise. Over time, various human institutions as well as various specialties arose. God was forgotten. People certainly came to understand that the “better I perform, the better off I’ll be”. The idea of excelling as a farmer or hunter and being known as “the best” would surely encourage competition. Thus, the idolatry of performance within human institutions would be the key to security. Not only that, but if I could out-perform, you, that surely I was better than you: I could “judge” you via my own arbitrary standard. We will address judgment in a subsequent article down the road, but, suffice to say, it has to do with the idea of how we put ourselves in spiritual authority over one another – a true symptom of our idolatry.

Next time: Entitlement and Pleasure Idolatry


1: Jesus bride is the reason why we are here
2: Salvation is not a covenant of works
3: Why the Fall?
4: The Consequences of the Fall
5: Rebellion Idolatry and Need Idolatry
6: Rebellion Idolatry: Façade & Security

Mr. Marica contributes incisive and contemporary Christian commentary for on a regular basis. He holds an MA from Liberty University, and he is the Director of Godly Training Ministries. You can find out more about him by clicking here.

You can contact Mr. Marica at

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