Thinking Like Christ
1Are you cheerful because you belong to Christ? Does his love comfort you? Is the Holy Spirit your companion? Has Christ been gentle and loving toward you? 2Then make my joy complete by agreeing with each other. Have the same love. Be one in spirit and purpose.
3Don't do anything only to get ahead. Don't do it because you are proud. Instead, be free of pride. Think of others as better than yourselves.
4None of you should look out just for your own good. You should also look out for the good of others.
5You should think in the same way Christ Jesus does.
6In his very nature he was God.
But he did not think that being equal with God was something he should hold on to.
7Instead, he made himself nothing.
He took on the very nature of a servant.
He was made in human form.
8He appeared as a man.
He came down to the lowest level.
He obeyed God completely, even though it led to his death.
In fact, he died on a cross.
9So God lifted him up to the highest place.
He gave him the name that is above every name.
10When the name of Jesus is spoken, everyone's knee will bow to worship him.
Every knee in heaven and on earth and under the earth will bow to worship him.
11Everyone's mouth will say that Jesus Christ is Lord.
And God the Father will receive the glory.
Living Like Christ
12My dear friends, you have always obeyed God. You obeyed while I was with you. And you have obeyed even more while I am not with you. So continue to work out your own salvation. Do it with fear and trembling. 13God is working in you. He wants your plans and your acts to be in keeping with his good purpose.
14Do everything without finding fault or arguing. 15Then you will be pure and without blame. You will be children of God without fault in a sinful and evil world. Among the people of the world you shine like stars in the heavens. 16You shine as you hold out to them the word of life. So I can brag about you on the day Christ returns. I can be happy that I didn't run or work for nothing.
17But my life might even be poured out like a drink offering on your sacrifices. I'm talking about the way you serve because you believe. Even so, I am glad. I am joyful with all of you. 18So you too should be glad and joyful with me.
Timothy and Epaphroditus
19I hope to send Timothy to you soon if the Lord Jesus allows it. Then I will be cheered up when I receive news about you. 20I have no one else like Timothy. He truly cares about how you are doing.
21All the others are looking out for their own interests. They are not looking out for the interests of Jesus Christ. 22But you know that Timothy has proved himself. He has served with me like a son with his father in spreading the good news.
23So I hope to send him as soon as I see how things go with me. 24And I'm sure I myself will come soon if the Lord allows it.
25But I think it's necessary to send Epaphroditus back to you. He is my brother in the Lord. He is a worker and a soldier of Christ together with me. He is also your messenger. You sent him to take care of my needs. 26He longs for all of you. He is troubled because you heard he was sick.
27He was very sick. In fact, he almost died. But God had mercy on him. He also had mercy on me. God spared me sadness after sadness. 28So I want even more to send him to you. Then when you see him again, you will be glad. And I won't worry so much.
29Welcome him as a brother in the Lord with great joy. Honor people like him. 30He almost died for the work of Christ. He put his life in danger to make up for the help you couldn't give me.