Is there any encouragement from belonging to Christ? Any comfort from his love? Any fellowship together in the Spirit? Are your hearts tender and sympathetic?
Then make me truly happy by agreeing wholeheartedly with each other, loving one another, and working together with one heart and purpose.
Don't be selfish; don't live to make a good impression on others. Be humble, thinking of others as better than yourself.
Don't think only about your own affairs, but be interested in others, too, and what they are doing.
Your attitude should be the same that Christ Jesus had.
Though he was God, he did not demand and cling to his rights as God.
He made himself nothing; a he took the humble position of a slave and appeared in human form. b8
And in human form he obediently humbled himself even further by dying a criminal's death on a cross.
Because of this, God raised him up to the heights of heaven and gave him a name that is above every other name,
so that at the name of Jesus every knee will bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth,
and every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
Dearest friends, you were always so careful to follow my instructions when I was with you. And now that I am away you must be even more careful to put into action God's saving work in your lives, obeying God with deep reverence and fear.
For God is working in you, giving you the desire to obey him and the power to do what pleases him.
In everything you do, stay away from complaining and arguing,
so that no one can speak a word of blame against you. You are to live clean, innocent lives as children of God in a dark world full of crooked and perverse people. Let your lives shine brightly before them.
Hold tightly to the word of life, so that when Christ returns, I will be proud that I did not lose the race and that my work was not useless.
But even if my life is to be poured out like a drink offering to complete the sacrifice of your faithful service (that is, if I am to die for you), I will rejoice, and I want to share my joy with all of you.
And you should be happy about this and rejoice with me.
If the Lord Jesus is willing, I hope to send Timothy to you soon. Then when he comes back, he can cheer me up by telling me how you are getting along.
I have no one else like Timothy, who genuinely cares about your welfare.
All the others care only for themselves and not for what matters to Jesus Christ.
But you know how Timothy has proved himself. Like a son with his father, he has helped me in preaching the Good News.
I hope to send him to you just as soon as I find out what is going to happen to me here.
And I have confidence from the Lord that I myself will come to see you soon.
Meanwhile, I thought I should send Epaphroditus back to you. He is a true brother, a faithful worker, and a courageous soldier. And he was your messenger to help me in my need.
Now I am sending him home again, for he has been longing to see you, and he was very distressed that you heard he was ill.
And he surely was ill; in fact, he almost died. But God had mercy on him -- and also on me, so that I would not have such unbearable sorrow.
So I am all the more anxious to send him back to you, for I know you will be glad to see him, and that will lighten all my cares.
Welcome him with Christian love c and with great joy, and be sure to honor people like him.
For he risked his life for the work of Christ, and he was at the point of death while trying to do for me the things you couldn't do because you were far away.
Scripture quotations marked NLT are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright 1996. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Wheaton, Illinois 60189. All rights reserved. (New Living Translation - The Bible Online)