Reading this in evening prayer tonight inspired in me another line of thought:
But to the saints that are in the earth, and to the excellent, in whom is all my delight. KJV
(Of course I didn't read it in that magnificent language.)
It is said that as one grows in sanctity and in the paths of God that the desire for the salvation of souls increases to the point where it is almost a mania. If one looks at any of the great Saints, we see motivating their works love for God and hence love for His people. This love demonstrates itself most practically in how one views other people as regards the eternal things. That is, one may not like one's neighbor, but one loves one's neighbor enough to sacrifice greatly to see to it that the neighbor arrives in heaven.
A sure sign of increasing intimacy with God is increading concern for the flock He shepherds and an increading desire to help those already on the path live more perfectly. This is just one of the signs of growth, but it is an important one, because it marks the beginning of the turning away from self and concern about oneself and marks the beginning of selflessness without which there can be no intimacy with God either now or in the world to come.