1So then, if you're encouraged by being in Christ, if you're comforted by his love, if you share together in the Spirit, if you have compassion and sympathy— 2then make my joy complete by thinking the same way and loving the same way, spiritually united and having one purpose. 3Don't do anything from a spirit of selfishness or pride, but humbly think of others better than you do of yourself. 4None of you should be preoccupied about your own things—instead concern yourself with the interests of others too.
5The attitude you should have is the same as that of Christ Jesus. 6Though in his nature he was always God, he wasn't concerned to cling on to his equality with God. 7Instead he emptied#2:7. Indicating that Jesus chose to “empty” himself of his divine powers. himself, taking the nature of a servant, becoming like a human being. 8Coming in human form, humbling himself, he submitted himself to death—even death on a cross.
9That's why God placed him in the position of greatest honor and power, and gave him the most prestigious name— 10so that in the name of Jesus everyone should bow in respect, whether in heaven or on earth or under the earth, 11and all will declare that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
12So, my good friends, continue to work towards the goal of salvation with complete reverence and respect for God, following what you were told—not just when I was with you, but even more so now I'm away from you. 13For it's God who is working within you, creating the will and the ability to do what he wants you to do. 14Do everything without complaining or arguing 15so that you'll be sincere, innocent of any wrong. Be God's blameless children living in the middle of a dishonest and corrupt people. Shine among them as lights to the world, 16holding out to them the word of life. That way I'll have something to be proud of when Christ returns, proving I didn't run around and work for nothing! 17So even if I pour out my life as a sacrifice and offering so you may trust in God, I'm happy for it, and I'm glad together with all of you, 18just as you have such joy and are glad with me.
19I'm hoping, if that's what the Lord Jesus wants, to send Timothy to you soon. It will cheer me up once I know how you're doing. 20I don't know anyone who genuinely cares about you as he does. 21Other people only worry about their own interests, not those of Jesus Christ. 22But you already know what he's like—just as a child working to help his father, so he's worked with me to spread the good news. 23So I hope to send him as soon as I see how I'm doing, 24and I trust in the Lord that shortly I'll be able to come too. 25But I thought it was important to send Epaphroditus to you. He's a brother to me, a co-worker and fellow-soldier. He's the one you sent to look after me, 26and he's been longing to see all of you, worried about you because you'd heard he was sick. 27He certainly was sick—he nearly died—but God had mercy on him. Not just on him, but on me too, so that I wouldn't have tragedy upon tragedy. 28That's why I'm so keen to send him, so that when you see him you'll be happy, and I won't have to be so anxious. 29So welcome him with much happiness in the Lord—honor people like him, 30because in working for Christ he nearly died, putting his life on the line to make up for the help you weren't in a position to give me.