Be more like Christ
1 You belong to Christ, and he makes you brave. His love makes you strong. You are able to help one another because his Spirit is in you. You can be kind to each other, and you can forgive each other. 2 Because of that, this is how you can make me completely happy: In your mind, think about things in the same way as one another. Love one another completely. In your spirit, agree with one another. And work together for the same purpose. 3 In the way that you live, do not just try to help yourself. Do not be proud. Instead, respect other people. Think about other people as more important than yourself. 4 Do not think only about the things that you want to do for yourself. Each of you should think also about how you can help other people.
5 You should think about things in the same way that Christ Jesus thought:
6 Christ had the same nature as God.
He was completely equal with God.
But he did not try to keep hold of that.
7 Instead, he chose to leave heaven.
He took for himself the nature of a slave.
He became like a human.
8 And when he lived as a man,
he made himself even less important.
He obeyed God completely, so that he died.
He even died on a cross!
2:8People were fixed to a cross to die when they were guilty of doing a very bad thing. Christ agreed to die like that, but he had not done anything that was wrong.
9 Because of that, God then raised Jesus Christ to the most important place.
God gave him the name that is greater than every other name.
10 As a result, when people hear Jesus' name, they must worship him.
Everyone will have to go down on their knees in front of him.
That includes everything that is in heaven,
everything on the earth and everything under the earth.
11 Everyone will have to agree that Jesus Christ is Lord.
When they say that aloud, they will show that God the Father is very great.
2:11Verses 6-11 may have been a song that Paul knew.
Christians must be like lights in the world
12 So, my friends, you must continue to obey God. When I was with you, you always obeyed. Now that I am not with you, that is even more important. God has saved you. You must always live in a way which shows that is true. Respect God and obey him. Remember that he is great and powerful. 13 It is God himself who is working in you. Now you want to obey him, and he makes you strong to do that. When you obey him, that makes him very happy.
2:12obey God or obey me.
14 Whatever you are doing, do not complain. And do not argue. 15 Then you will not be guilty of anything that is wrong. You will be clean inside yourselves. You will be living in a completely good way, as God's children should. In this world, you are living among bad people who have turned away from what is good. But you must bring light into this dark place, like stars that shine in the night. 16 Tell people the true message that can give them life with God. Then I will know that my work among you had good results. Because of that, I will be very happy on the day when Christ returns.
17 You believe in Christ, and you are his servants. That is like you are offering yourselves as a sacrifice to God. Perhaps I will soon have to die. Then my blood would be like drink that I am pouring on your sacrifice, to please God. So, if I have to die now, I will be happy. And we should all be happy together. 18 Yes, it is right that you should be happy, and I will also be happy with you.
Timothy and Epaphroditus
19 I want to send Timothy to come to you soon. I hope that the Lord Jesus will let me do that. Then, when Timothy returns to me, he can tell me news about you. And that will make me happy. 20 Timothy really loves you, as I do. There is nobody else here with me like him. 21 Everyone else thinks only about themselves. They have no interest in the things that are important to Jesus Christ. 22 But you know what Timothy is like. He has worked with me like a son works to help his father. Together we have taught people God's good news. 23 That is why I hope to send him to you soon. But first, I want to know what will happen to me here. 24 The Lord has helped me to hope that I will soon come to you myself.
25 Whatever happens, I think I must send Epaphroditus to come back to you. He is our true Christian brother. He has worked with me to serve God together. We have worked hard, like soldiers. When I needed help, you sent him to me. He has helped me on your behalf. 26 Now he wants very much to see all of you again. He became very sad, because you heard the message that he was ill. 27 Certainly, he was very ill, and he almost died. But God was kind to him. And God was kind to me too. If Epaphroditus had died, I would have become even more sad. 28 So I want even more to send him back to you. Then you can be really happy, and I will not feel sad any more.
2:25Epaphroditus 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.
29 Receive Epaphroditus well when he comes, and be happy. Like you, he belongs to the Lord's people. You should respect people like him and be kind to them. 30 He nearly died because he was working to serve Christ. He came to help me, because you could not help me yourselves. He was even ready to die so that he could do that on your behalf.
2:30Epaphroditus had been very ill while he was with Paul at Rome. But God had made him well again. Epaphroditus had been helping Paul on behalf of all the Christians at Philippi.