How does humility make intimacy accessible? Humility is generally understood to be holding a modest or low view of ourselves. Scripturally many of us would be drawn to the passage below.
1 Therefore if there is any consolation in Christ, if any comfort of love, if any fellowship of the Spirit, if any affection and mercy, 2 fulfill my joy by being like-minded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind. 3 Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself. Philippians 2:1-3 (NKJV)
In the passage above the phrase in verse 3, ‘lowliness of mind’ refers to humility and is described below.
The term is found seven times in the New Testament, and there only in Acts and the Epistles. True “humbleness” (tapeinophrosunē) is encouraged for the believer (Acts 20:19; Ephesians 4:2; Philippians 2:3; Colossians 3:12; 1 Peter 5:5). This “humility,” however, has nothing to do with “groveling” or “weakness.” It describes a humility that naturally evolves out of a heart of love for the exalted Lord. It is the attitude of the Christian servant, first exemplified by Jesus. In fact, it is only in an attitude of humility, a contrite heart, that the spiritual life can prosper. Humility should characterize relationships among the children of God (Philippians 2:3). Complete Biblical Library Greek-English Dictionary
This is a great description of both humility and the benefits yet I think we at times miss them because we stop too soon in Philippian’s 2. Look at the next verse.
4 Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others. Philippians 2:4 (NKJV)
Humility is neither being arrogant nor an ascetic. It is having a proper assessment based on scripture and recognizing the need to look after our interests as well as others. We need to know what the scriptures say about us. At the same time, I have had a recurring experience the last couple of weeks. I often listen to satellite radio in my car and one of the popular feel good television and radio preachers has an ad on my regular station. I want to like him but I find the message ‘smarmy’ (I don’t know the Greek for that!) though he professes to be teaching what the scriptures teach. My recent recurring experience is wondering if Paul listened to one of his sermons whether Paul would try to convert him to Christ? I think Paul would try to convert him because he would not be able to reconcile this preacher’s message with the gospel.
I said that to highlight that I am not advocating a hyped up message or perspective. Yet if I do an honest assessment of who I am based on His word I find myself experiencing intimacy with Jesus. What is an honest assessment? Here are some examples.
17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new. 2 Corinthians 5:17 (NKJV) 13 I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. Philippians 4:13 (NKJV) 10 And if Christ is in you, the body is dead because of sin, but the Spirit is life because of righteousness. 11 But if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who dwells in you. Romans 8:10-11 (NKJV)
When I sit with Jesus and meditate on verses like these the door to intimacy swings open and I experience His presence resting upon my heart and moving within me because I am feeding my spirit on His Word and presence. However a balancing factor and important aspect of humility is also meditating on the verse below.
5 I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing. John 15:5 (NKJV)
What this verse tells me is that to be effective in His kingdom (His not mine) I need to humbly depend on Jesus. It also frees me because I recognize my responsibility is obedience and Jesus responsibilities is results! So, if you are not already doing so I invite you to spend a couple of weeks making friends with these few verses and monitoring how it affects your friendship with Jesus.