BIBLICAL FOUNDATIONS OF BEHAVIOR: 6 REBELLION IDOLATRY IDOLS
#4 of the Walk Applied Model Discipleship & Counseling Continuing Series:
The Walk Applied is a comprehensive Biblical model
that is applicable for counseling, discipleship. mentoring, teaching, etc.
A "DELUSION" OF CONTROL
The Fall had significant consequences not the least of which was that our sinful flesh was revealed. We will first discuss The Rebellion Idolatry System, which has 6 belief idols.
PRIDE (Gen 3:6)
I am the authority; I am above God.
PRIDE FALSE BELIEFS:
- I MUST be in authority over others
- I MUST be the Judge!
- It is perfectly permissible for me to come out of Godly Authority when and where I choose. - I have a Free Will and I have “my rights" to make the choices I want to make. - I have the right to reject God's authority as I see fit!
Adam and Eve chose to disobey. They exhibited Pride, defined here as the belief that it is permissible to come out of Godly authority. By implication, submission to intermediate satanic authority must follow, which we will see later leads to chaos, depression and hopelessness. Pride idolatry has enormous implications for our world view and our deep-seated internal belief systems. Primarily, it means that we believe that we are above God. It means we believe that we are the authority figure in our lives. The inference for us is that we will believe that we not only have permission to come out of Godly authority; we will also believe that the seductive power of choice gives us the right to come out of Godly authority when we think it is in our best interest to do so. Even worse, Pride idolatry establishes within us the sinful belief that we MUST do whatever we need to do to have authority over others. I MUST be the “judge” over others. To the fullest extent possible, I cannot allow anyone to be in authority over me because I cannot allow others to judge me. The foundational false belief with pride is “I am in control”. The core belief here is that since I am the judge, I can judge you because I am superior to you.
- I can control my position in the community.
PERFORMANCE FALSE BELIEF: I control the conditions to enter God's house
Adam’s predicament was all too apparent after the fall. Now he would be responsible for supporting Eve and their children. He would somehow have to provide shelter and work to obtain food and clothing. He now bore the responsibility for his own survival as well as others. In other words, he would have to perform in order for them to live. It would not be enough for him to merely meet his own standards; there were now others who had to be considered as well. Was there enough? Would Eve be satisfied? Were the children warm enough?
Performance is the core belief that the better I perform within the context of human institutions, not only will I be “successful”, thus becoming “more secure”, but the “higher I rise”, the less likely it is that others can “judge me?. This belief will drive most men to exert power and control in most areas of their life. Women, of course, are not immune; they will exert competitive tendencies with other women as well as with their children. They will likely also idolize performance in their husbands as the key to their own security.
Performance idolatry is rooted in what Keller discusses in his aforementioned sermon. Keller emphasizes that “...since we were made in the image of God, we know deep inside that we betrayed God.” Keller further explains that “... our fleshly guilt and shame establish within us the idea that we [innately] know we owe God” Performance Idolatry can be interpreted to mean that we will “pay back” what we “owe” and show “how good” we are through our deeds and actions. Thus, others (God as well?) will “owe me” and my deeds, actions and intentions will establish my righteousness as well as my authority over others.
The foundational error with Performance Idolatry, of course, is that it’s a theology of works which, if true, would have the effect of nullifying the cross. Would Jesus ever do such a thing if we could earn our way to Heaven? The covenant of Salvation is based on faith, not works. Indeed, Isaiah points out that our works mean nothing. No level of performance can satisfy God’s covenant conditions. In God’s wisdom, He established one standard by which all can enter God’s house. The false belief for performance is that I can control the conditions by which I can enter God’s house. This is tantamount to saying that you should let me in your residence because I think you should, even though you don’t know me at all.
The idea that no level of performance can satisfy the entrance requirement is a powerful notion. Indeed, why did God purpose, plan and execute the salvation process in the way he did? If performance was the case, what would be good enough? What would be the standard? Suppose you and I went to the movies. and your ticket cost $10, and mine cost $1. Very likely, you would want a justification as to why I got in for less money, and almost certainly you would expect that justification to make sense to you, not the theater owner. Further, even though the theater owner leased the movie from the studio and paid for the equipment and the building and the salaries and has every right to charge whatever price he wants, you would still very likely howl in protest that the price difference was unfair!
- I CANNOT let ANYONE judge me
- I can control what others think
about me by how I present myself
FAÇADE FALSE BELIEF: I can control how others perceive me
The first thing Adam and Eve did after the fall was to cover up; they were avoiding judgment by one another. We attempt to project an image of ourselves in accordance to what we perceive will put us in authority over others – or ensure we cannot be “judged”. Façade is self-deceiving in that it really depends upon our perception of how others perceive us. In effect, this belief allows others to control us in that we are actually submitting to others. Facade is the false belief that “prevents us” from being judged. We falsely believe that Facade establishes us as the authority since we falsely believe It allows us to judge others since we are the “authority”.
-The temporary escape from the sinful chaotic and my own shame
-The creation of false intimacy & acceptance whereby
I do not have to reveal the "real me" so
that others cannot judge me.
PLEASURE FALSE BELIEF: God won’t make me “happy" so I have to make myself “happy".
Romans 1 teaches how pleasure involves a scenario whereby the refusal to worship God (e.g. idolatry) results in perversion and chaos. To relieve anxiety and chaos, and attempt to reach a state of peace even though it will always be temporary we will seek pleasure. We will substitute intimate pleasure (sex) to meet our need for intimacy. When pleasure is substituted for intimacy, we can emotionally “hide”; we don’t have to reveal ourselves. We can avoid being judged in this way; this is in line with façade idolatry. Romans shows there will be virtually no limit to our depravity. The core false belief of pleasure is that “If God won’t make me happy, then I have the right to make myself happy.” The false belief of pleasure reflects a profound lack of trust and faith in God and how He wants to work in our lives. Pleasure, of course, is often associated with sin. Without question, sin does encompass illicit activities that do indeed bring a very temporary pleasure and peace. Sometimes, we seemingly “get away with it”. Many times, however, sin brings consequences that can be significant and profound. That impulsive action that was seemingly so minor can turn into a lifetime of misery. In Romans, Paul tells us that we will seek illicit pleasures as a direct result of our unbelief and failure to worship God. Paul informs us that many of those who live a sinful life will turn to depravity and the unspeakable. In other words, there will be no recognition of moral principles, any option is open. Paul’s extensive list in Romans 1 serves to emphasize the gross immorality of unrestricted hedonism that we see today.
ENTITLEMENT (Gen 3:6)
-I should have what you have because I am "above you".
What right do you have to have something I don’t?
FALSE ENTITLEMENT BELIEF: - Life is Fair. Since I am “above" you, I should have what you have. Actually, I should have more than you because I am better than you since I can judge you.
When Eve gave into the temptation to indulge in the fruit, the entitlement rationale is what pushed her over the edge. Since God could have the fruit, Eve rationalized that should be able to, as well. Entitlement is what allowed Eve to "reason" that she could, in fact, agree to come out of Godly authority despite her clear knowledge that she would die. Eve looked at the fruit, likely thought: “Well, it looks ok and it looks like it will benefit me. What’s the harm?" Eve rationalized because of this belief: If God has it, why can’t I”
We can also infer that Eve believed she did not need God to meet her needs or wants, given that she believed that the fruit would give her something that God would not. The core false belief of entitlement is that Life should be fair. In essence, it is saying that I should at least have the same as everyone else. This creates confusion and chaos because entitlement says that I must have more than you have and what I have must be better than what you have. Obviously, the logical inconsistency here is that It’s physically impossible in our natural realm for everyone to have the same as everyone else. Only God can create a system whereby all are truly equal.
Human Institutions protect me
SECURITY FALSE BELIEF: I can control what happens to me
Security is the false belief that our safety lies in human institutions. Security is seen in the protection afforded by government or financial institutions. It’s not difficult to find people who believe that their security is in their jobs or their retirement accounts or that the government protects them or that some other human institution can be counted on. Yet, virtually every human institution fails on a daily basis in one way or another. Every day we hear numerous different complaints: “We need a different president!” “Kick ‘em all out of Congress” “We need to pass a law so that this will never happen again!”. “How dare they lay me off!!!” Natural and man-made disasters plague our existence continually. Criminal activity is a fact of life. We read about horrific child abuse every day. The list goes on and on. The sobering reality is that we live in a sin-ridden world whereby we are threatened in numerous ways every day, yet we operate under the delusion that we are somehow insulated to one degree or another.
Yet a different way that we play out the false belief of security is manifest in the differences that we observe in how women and men express their aspirations in life. Women can be very competitive when it comes to the perceived success of their husbands and their kids. For many women, security can be seen as the protection of the husband within the institution of marriage. For many men, security is achievement within human institutions or talent or skill or advancement within organizations. Men can certainly express their urge to compete via their wealth, position, and status. Let us note that both sexes are equally guilty when it comes to competitive behavior; neither one has a monopoly. Competition can be a fine thing; there is nothing wrong with the drive to excel but we surely need to ask the basic question: what’s my motivation?
Of particular concern is Gen 3:16: “To the woman he said, your desire will be for your husband, and he will rule over you.”. The contention here is that God is allowing a belief to be instilled in Eve that she will depend upon sinful men for her security instead of looking to the Living God for her security. Yet she will also contend with the duality of not only seeing her husband as her security, while trying to usurp his authority in marriage (typically through manipulation) because of her sinful desire to judge. She will want to mold him into her idea of security.
The husband will likely contend with power and control issues as he deals with judgment and achievement. Since the husband will usually operates out of performance and facade, he will very likely try to control her as he asserts himself as the leader. He may indeed judge her by misunderstanding her need for security as invasive. Facade enters the picture when we consider that men may overly desire a trophy wife. Women may overly desire the “triple 6s”: six pack abs, a six-figure salary and six feet tall.
It is more than a little interesting when we observe that many Christians see their security in their job or career. In essence, this is really saying that we are dependent on sinners for our provision. God explicitly tells us in His Word that He faithful to meet our every need according to His purpose plan and will. We will discuss this in greater detail later in another volume, but we need to see our jobs In a totally different context – as our “oikos”- where we have been placed to be a light for the Kingdom and He coincidentally flows the provision He wants us to have.
Next Time: #5: Need Idolatry
N. Patrick Marica contributes incisive Christian commentary on this blog on a regular basis. He has been the Director of Godly Training Ministries since 1993. He has his MA from Liberty University in Marriage and Family Therapy. He is the author of the forthcoming book: The Walk Applied". He has been married to Kathy since 1985. They have 2 adult daughters and 1 extraordinary son-in-law.
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