Service versus intimacy

The religious say that our primary purpose is a life of intimacy with God and thus, by implication, outworking our salvation is secondary.

If that is true, why did God completely fail to explain that to Adam? God gave Adam a job of work to do – subduing and replenishing the earth – overcoming the damage done by Satan after he was cast down onto the earth. God never mentioned the priority of intimacy, and there’s no record that God and Adam interacted during the day while Adam was getting on with his job.

Adam’s PURPOSE according to God’s words to him and therefore scripture was to do a job of work on this earth. That is why Adam was created. In God’s likeness and image IN ORDER TO be equipped to fulfil his purpose.

If this were true, then we could spend a life of intimacy with our God never doing anything for him, but still doing our primary call.

This is in total contradiction of all of scripture, and in particular the clear words of Jesus – it’s not about hearing the word but doing it.

Hearing the word is intimacy. Doing it is service. Be doers of the word, not hearers only. That does NOT say that service is secondary – which is what this quote is claiming.

James says that faith without works is dead. Jesus said that to only listen to his words is like building your life on sand. Every significant figure in the bible is called by God to works of service. Find me one who isn’t. God never calls them to intimacy.

What you are called to is, by definition, your primary purpose. So why, oh why, is scripture so silent on intimacy being our primary purpose? I suggest it’s because God always called everyone into a relationship with him out of which they fulfilled their purpose. They could never fulfil the purpose outside of the context of an intimate relationship with him.

But that NEVER make the relationship the priority. We have all of eternity for intimacy with our God, but only a few short years of life on this earth to set our fellow man free from the oppressed of the devil.

How does Luke summarise the life of Jesus? In Acts 10:38 Jesus of Nazareth who went about in intimacy and prayer with God, demonstrating what an intimate lifestyle looks like? NO

Jesus went about doing good and healing all oppressed of the devil, because God was with him.

Yet there was never a man who had a more intimate relationship with God than Jesus. But it’s not on his epitaph, The bible presumes that we will have such a relationship with our Father. But check the heroes of faith in Hebrews 11. Which was a hero because he/she was intimate with God? NO. They were heroes because of their works of faith.


12 Responses to “Service versus intimacy”

  1. Matt Sims Says:

    What is the purpose of this article?

    I’ll use your own analogy. If the primary purpose of a car is to provide transportation from A to B and someone attempts to use the car for its primary purpose they will not be able to. They need gas, to know how to turn the car on, put it into gear etc…. Knowing the purpose/goal of something only helps people if they know how to achive that purpose/goal. We need intimacy to do work.

    Our primary goal/purpose is to walk as Jesus walked. In every situation we should represent Christ and handle the situation as He would have.

    1 John 2:6 The one who says he resides in God ought himself to walk just as Jesus walked.

    Much love 🙂

  2. jeremypenwarden Says:

    Walk as Jesus walked works for me. Acts 10:38. Service/works. Being about his Father’s business.

    It almost sounds as if you’re agreeing with me Matt. Can it be true?

  3. Matt Sims Says:

    I agree 🙂

    I don’t think our primary focus should be on works… But I agree works are something every Christian is called to… However I think we can get off on trying to do works within ourselves and leaving the intimacy that Jesus modeled behind… Both are needed. Thats why Jesus is the perfect model, He demonstrated intimacy with God that then poured out into works of God. (Gas for the car)

  4. jeremypenwarden Says:

    My point is this. We get our theology from the bible. The overwhelming evidence from the words of God towards people is that he always always always called them for purpose of work, not for purpose of intimacy.

    I struggle to understand why that is obvious to everyone.

  5. Matt Sims Says:

    Because we are to be rooted and established in love, not works…. The reason everyone has a hard time understanding what you are saying is because you are splitting hairs on your definition of “primary purpose.” It is not necessarily that you are wrong…. But when you attack viewpoints that are biblical just for the sake of splitting hairs you will get people stirred up unnecessarily.

    • Jonathan Yeong Says:


    • jeremypenwarden Says:

      I am not splitting hairs Matt. If I fulfil my primary purpose, then I have done my main job. All other things are, by definition, secondary. If left undone in favour of the primary, then that can be acceptable.

      If God wanted our PRIMARY purpose to be intimacy or relationship, then he should get some communication lessons.

      I have said that we come into relationship for the purpose of doing the job we’ve been called to. It is OBVIOUS that just doing that job without the relationship is irrelevant. I don’t want people doing work for my company outside of relationship with me.

      Anyway, what you may not know is that one of my primary callings is to say things in ways that people won’t naturally agree with in order to make them think differently. If they refuse to interact with what I’m saying they’ll never learn from it.

      If I only say things they already agree with they won’t learn from me. I say things deliberately provocatively so that people will take note. A bit like the piece of grit in an oyster that produces a pearl.

      Some will just spit out the grit. That’s their choice. Those who will listen to me will find pearls.

      • Matt Sims Says:

        Why would you purposely create arguments over different opinions? You are supposed to be building up the body of Christ, not creating dissension and factions by putting so much emphasis on specific doctrine.

        Proverbs 18:2 A fool takes no pleasure in understanding, but only in expressing his opinion.

        Romans 14:1 Now receive the one who is weak in the faith, and do not have disputes over differing opinions.

        Timothy 2:14 Dealing with False Teachers Remind people of these things and solemnly charge them before the Lord not to wrangle over words. This is of no benefit; it just brings ruin on those who listen.

        Timothy 2:23 Don’t have anything to do with foolish and stupid arguments, because you know they produce quarrels.

        Galatians 5:19-21
        The acts of the flesh are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, DISCORD, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, DISSENSION, FACTIONS, 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.

  6. jeremypenwarden Says:

    To use your words Matt, we are rooted and established in love FOR works. Jesus made it clear that he EXPECTS works from us. James made it clear that faith without works is dead.

    We get all these messages saying ‘we were made for intimacy, not service’. Or the Westminster Shorter Catechism question 1.

    Everyone applauds because it sounds so right.

    Then christians spend their lives in worship meetings and worship conferences and 24/7 prayer and ‘protesting’ outside abortion clinics with tape on their mouths and saying that they’re ‘called to be worshippers, intercessors and prayer warriors’. Spending hours ‘soaking’.

    Thinking that because intimacy is their primary purpose, they have done all they need to do. They quote Martha and Mary, forgetting the critical part of the story – that Jesus had a word to bring and Martha was too busy to hear his word. It wasn’t some vague ‘being in his presence’. Jesus has a message for Martha – was specifically wanting to speak to her – and she wandered off, too busy to listen.

    So, YES, I want to provoke. This nonsense needs breaking because it excuses people from doing what they are truly called to by leaving fake religious super-spiritual ‘callings’.

    • Jonathan Yeong Says:

      Let us not become conceited, provoking one another, envying one another. – Galatians 5:26

  7. jeremypenwarden Says:

    Why – because I care about the truth. Why – because people will go on believing what they’ve been taught, unless they hear something that catches their attention and provokes them to reconsider.

    Why – because thinking and communicating outside the box will take people on to deeper understandings of what they think and believe. Why – because I’m me and that’s how I tick.

    If you don’t like it, the internet is a very big place and you don’t have to hang around me if you don’t want to.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s