So then, as Christians, do you have any encouragement? Do you have any comfort from love? Do you have any spiritual relationships? Do you have any sympathy and compassion?
Then fill me with joy by having the same attitude and the same love, living in harmony, and keeping one purpose in mind.
Don't act out of selfish ambition or be conceited. Instead, humbly think of others as being better than yourselves.
Don't be concerned only about your own interests, but also be concerned about the interests of others.
Have the same attitude that Christ Jesus had.
Although he was in the form of God and equal with God, he did not take advantage of this equality.
Instead, he emptied himself by taking on the form of a servant, by becoming like other humans, by having a human appearance.
He humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, death on a cross.
This is why God has given him an exceptional honor-- the name honored above all other names--
so that at the name of Jesus everyone in heaven, on earth, and in the world below will kneel
and confess that Jesus Christ is Lord to the glory of God the Father.
My dear friends, you have always obeyed, not only when I was with you but even more now that I'm absent. In the same way continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling.
It is God who produces in you the desires and actions that please him.
Do everything without complaining or arguing.
Then you will be blameless and innocent. You will be God's children without any faults among people who are crooked and corrupt. You will shine like stars among them in the world
as you hold firmly to the word of life. Then I can brag on the day of Christ that my effort was not wasted and that my work produced results.
My life is being poured out as a part of the sacrifice and service [I offer to God] for your faith. Yet, I am filled with joy, and I share that joy with all of you.
For this same reason you also should be filled with joy and share that joy with me.
I hope that the Lord Jesus will allow me to send Timothy to you soon so that I can receive some encouraging news about you.
I don't have anyone else like Timothy. He takes a genuine interest in your welfare.
Everyone else looks after his own interests, not after those of Jesus Christ.
But you know what kind of person Timothy proved to be. Like a father and son we worked hard together to spread the Good News.
I hope to send him as soon as I see how things are going to turn out for me.
But the Lord gives me confidence that I will come [to visit you] soon.
I feel that I must send Epaphroditus--my brother, coworker, and fellow soldier--back to you. You sent him as your personal representative to help me in my need.
He has been longing to see all of you and is troubled because you heard that he was sick.
Indeed, he was so sick that he almost died. But God had mercy not only on him but also on me and kept me from having one sorrow on top of another.
So I'm especially eager to send him to you. In this way you will have the joy of seeing him again and I will feel relieved.
Give him a joyful Christian welcome. Make sure you honor people like Epaphroditus highly.
He risked his life and almost died for the work of Christ in order to make up for the help you couldn't give me.