Imitate the humility of Jesus
2 • 1 If I may advise you in the name of Christ and if you can hear it as the voice of love; if we share the same spirit and are capable of mercy and compassion, then I beg of you 2 make me very happy: have one love, one spirit, one feeling, 3 do nothing through rivalry or vain conceit. On the contrary let each of you gently consider the others as more important than yourselves. 4 Do not seek your own interest, but rather that of others. 5 Your attitude should be the same as Jesus Christ had:
6 Though he was in the form of God,
he did not regard equality with God as something to be grasped,
7 but emptied himself,
taking on the nature of a servant, made in human likeness,
and in his appearance found as a man.
8 He humbled himself by being obedient to death,
death on the cross.
9 That is why God exalted him
and gave him the Name which outshines all names,
10 so that at the Name of Jesus all knees should bend
in heaven, on earth and among the dead,
11 and all tongues proclaim that Christ Jesus is the Lord
to the glory of God the Father.
• 12 Therefore, my dearest friends, as you always obeyed me while I was with you, even more now that I am far from you, continue working out your salvation “with fear and trembling.” 13 It is God who makes you not only wish but also carry out what pleases him. 14 Do everything without grumbling, 15 so that without fault or blame, you will be children of God without reproach among a crooked and perverse generation. You are a light among them, like stars in the universe, 16 holding to the Word of life. I shall feel proud of you on the day of Christ on seeing that my effort and labor have not been in vain. 17 And if I am being poured out as a libation over the sacrifice and the offering of your faith, I rejoice and continue to share your joy; 18 and you likewise should rejoice and share my joy.
• 19 The Lord Jesus lets me hope that I may soon send you Timothy, and have news of you. With this I will feel encouraged. 20 For I have no one so concerned for you as he is. 21 Most follow their own interest, not those of Christ Jesus. 22 But Timothy has proved himself, as you know. Like a son at the side of his father, he has been with me at the service of the Gospel. 23 Because of that I hope to send him to you as soon as I see how things work out for me. 24 Nevertheless the Lord lets me think that I myself shall be coming soon.
25 I judged it necessary to send back to you Epaphroditus, who worked and fought at my side and whom you sent to help me in my great need. 26 In fact, he missed you very much and was still more worried because you had heard of his sickness. 27 He was indeed sick and almost died, but God took pity on him and on me, sparing me greater sorrow. 28 And so I am eager to send him to you, so that on seeing him you will be glad and I will be at peace. 29 Receive him then with joy, as is fitting in the Lord. Consider highly persons like him, 30 who almost died for the work of Christ; he risked his life to serve me on your behalf when you could not help me.
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