‘Therefore if you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any common sharing in the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and of one mind. Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others. In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus:  Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage; rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death- even death on a cross!’ Philippians 2:1-8

Throughout the New Testament, Jesus shows us that ‘the only way up is down’ through his teaching and his example and here in Philippians we dwell on Christ’s example, paving the way to humility. Jesus had absolutely everything at his disposal; all glory, riches, power, position, status, kingdoms and skills – more than we could ever imagine or hope for – and yet he didn’t consider any of it to his advantage. In fact, he gave it all up for us. Nothing we could ever have or aspire to could come close to comparing to what He gave up for the sake of us.

To even begin to imitate Christ’s humility, we need to remember who we are and whose we are. That all good things we could ever have; time, money, positions, achievements, talents are gifts from our heavenly father. As I was reading about ‘Be Humble Day’ (22nd February 2024), I was struck by the paradox that humility can present to a secular world – claiming humility can be seen as an act of pride. Can anyone even know or acknowledge their own humility without negating it? But the Bible teaches us, we can still celebrate and value our gifts and achievements and circumstances by rightly attributing our praise and gratitude. Humility needn’t be a sombre affair or one of insecurity and lack of confidence but celebrating our blessings by knowing where they come from. As the great hymn goes, ““I will not boast in anything, no gifts, no power, no wisdom. But I will boast in Jesus Christ, his death and resurrection.”

We can do that with others to. We have all been made differently and the Kingdom benefits from all of us being involved. We can use our gifts to encourage and build one another up, recognising each person’s part to play.

Abi Andrews (N Lancs Schools’ Worker)