Be more like Christ
1 You are united with Christ, so he can make you strong and brave. He can help you not to be sad. You can know that he loves you very much. All of you can know his Spirit. So you can be kind to each other. You can love each other as Christ loves you. 2 So, make me completely happy because all of you agree. All of you should love each other in the same way. All of you should be like one person, because you have the same purpose. 3 You must not do only the things that you want. You should not do anything only for the reason that it makes you seem more important than other people. Instead, always think about what other people need. Do not think that you are better than other people. But think about other people as better than you. 4 Do not think only about the things that are important to you yourself. But each of you should think also about the things that are important to other people. 5 You should think in the same way as Christ Jesus thought:
6 Christ had completely the same nature as God.
He was as important as God.
But Christ did not demand that he should continue to be important like that.
7 Instead, he made himself much, much less important.
He took for himself a servant's nature.
He became like men.
8 And when he was a man,
he made himself even less important.
He obeyed God so completely that he died.
He even died on a cross!
9 That is why God raised Jesus Christ to the most important place.
God gave him the name that is greater than every other name.
10 So that, when they hear Jesus' name, everyone must bend down.
Everything that is alive in heaven must bend down.
Everything that is alive on earth, or under the earth, must bend down.
They must go down on their knees to worship him.
11 Everyone must agree and say aloud,
‘Jesus Christ is Lord.’
That will show that God the Father is very great and very good.
2:11These verses may have been part or all of a song that Paul knew.
Christians must be like lights in the world
12 So, my friends that I love, you too must obey God. When I was with you, you always obeyed. Now that I am not with you, that is even more important. You are people that God has worked to save from the results of sin. And you must live as people like that should live. You must be very careful to obey God always. You should be afraid not to do that. You must remember that he is very great and very powerful. 13 Obey God, because he is working in you. He is changing you so that you want to obey him. And he is making you able to do the things that make him happy.
14 When you do anything, do not become angry about it. And do not argue about it. 15 Then you will be clean inside yourselves. You will be without anything wrong in you, as God's children should be. And nobody will be able to say that you have done anything wrong. In this world, you are living with bad people all round you. They have become very bad. And they want to do wrong things. But you must be like lights among them, like the bright stars that shine in the dark sky at night. 16 You will be like lights to these people while you tell Christ's message to them. That message can cause them to become really alive. If you are like this, I can be happy because of you. I will be happy on the day when Christ will return. Then I will know that all my work among you had good results. I will know that I did not waste my time.
17 You believe Christ, so you are his servants. You offer yourselves to God, like a sacrifice, to work for him. Perhaps I will have to die. Perhaps I must become like part of your sacrifice. Perhaps I must become like the drink that people pour on to their sacrifice. But if I die, I will be happy. And I want you to be happy also. 18 It is right that you should be happy too. You should be happy, as I will be happy.
Paul will send Timothy and Epaphroditus to Philippi
19 But I hope that the Lord Jesus will let me send Timothy to you soon. Then, when he returns to me, he can tell me news about you. And that will make me happy. 20 Timothy really loves you, as I do. He really has an interest in you. I have nobody else like him. 21 Everyone else thinks about the things that are important to themselves. They have no interest in the things that are important to Jesus Christ. 22 But you know that Timothy is a good man. He has worked with me like a son works with his father. You know that. He has helped me to tell people the good news. 23 That is why I hope to send him to you. I am waiting to discover what will happen to me. Then, when I know, I will send him. 24 But I believe that the Lord will let me come to you soon myself.
25 Epaphroditus is my Christian brother, who works with me. We are both like soldiers in Christ's army. When I needed help, you sent him to me. And he brought your message to me. But now I think that I must send him back to you. 26 He wants very much to meet all of you again. You knew that he was ill. So he has not been happy that you knew. He does not want you to be sad about him. 27 Certainly, he was very ill, and he almost died. But God was kind to him. God was also kind to me, so that I was not even more sad. 28 So I want even more to send him to you. When you see him, you can be happy. And I will not feel so sad. 29 Like you, he belongs to the Lord's people. So you must say ‘welcome’ to him. You should be very happy when he comes to visit you. People like Epaphroditus have done great things. So you should remember how important they are. 30 Epaphroditus nearly died because he worked for Christ. He would have died so that he could help me. He helped me because you could not help me yourselves.
2:30Epaphroditus belonged to the group of Christians at Philippi. The Christians at Philippi had sent him to Rome. He had brought gifts from them to Paul. See Philippians 4:18. Epaphroditus had been very ill while he was at Rome. But God had made him well again. Epaphroditus could help Paul because he was at Rome with Paul. He was helping on behalf of all the Christians at Philippi.