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Philippians  ◦   Chapter 2

1 If you have experienced the courage that comes from unity with Christ, if you have experienced the peace and life-giving warmth of his love in your heart, if you have experienced the enlightening and transforming power of the Spirit, if you are now tender and compassionate in heart, mind and character,2 then–if you want to make me happy beyond words–be united in love, purpose, motive, method, and constant care and concern for each other.3 Don't do anything for selfish reasons or seek to promote yourself ahead of others, but in humbleness and love be more concerned for the welfare and good of others than for your own.4 Each one of you should not only be concerned with your own health and growth, but also work to help others become the healthiest Christians they can be.

5 Your attitude, motives and mindset should be that of Christ Jesus,

6 who, though by his very nature has always been God, did not use his divine power, might, knowledge or other prerogatives to promote himself.

7 But in order to save his creation, he willingly laid all those abilities aside and voluntarily made himself, by comparison, powerless. He made himself as powerless as a slave–a real human being.

8 And after becoming human, he voluntarily humbled himself to perfectly reveal God's character of love, choosing to love at all costs. He wouldn't even use his power to prevent his own death on the cross and thus he overcame selfishness with love!

9 This is why (because his love is without limit) God has exalted him to the highest place in all the universe and has given him a name of recognition and respect above any other,

10 so that at the name of Jesus, every intelligent being–whether in heaven or on earth–will bow in acknowledgement of his true character and worthiness,

11 and every intelligent being will confess that Jesus Christ is truly Lord–the eternal visible expression of God's glory and character.

12 Therefore, my friends, as you have always followed my instructions in applying God's Remedy to your lives when I was with you, it is even more important now, that I am gone, that you continue to apply God's methods to your lives with reverent admiration and humility,13 because it is God himself working in you to heal, restore and recreate you perfectly in his image, enabling you to understand the truth and empowering you to do what is right — all in perfect harmony with his will.

14 Carry out your duties cheerfully, without conflict, argument or complaint:15 in so doing, you cooperate with God for transformation of character and re-creation of a pure heart within, and become radiant children of God — shining brightly for good in this perverse and wicked world — for all the universe to see.16 With such conduct, your very lives broadcast the principles of life, sending an open invitation for all to come to Christ and live; and when Christ takes us home with him, I will be so proud of you, and be content knowing that my labor was not in vain.17 And even if it becomes necessary that my life is sacrificed as the price for bringing you this healing message–I am glad to do it, and I rejoice that you have received the good news about God and are being healed.18 So whatever happens to me, you should be glad and rejoice with me, for I have achieved my heart's desire in bringing you this message of life.

19 I hope that it is God's will that I can send Timothy to you soon so that he may bring me news of your growth in Christ, and I may be cheered.20 Timothy shares my love for you like no one else.21 Most people look out for their own selfish interests, and not for the interests of Christ Jesus,22 but Timothy has been like a son to me and has proved his loyalty to Christ over and over again.23 I genuinely hope to send him as soon as I know what is going to happen with me.24 But I am confident that if it is God's will, I will be coming to join you soon myself.

25 I think I am going to have to send Epaphroditus back to you (even though you sent him to help me and he has been a faithful soldier for Christ)26 because he is very homesick and knows that you have worried about him since you heard he was ill.27 And he was very sick and almost died, but God graciously intervened and not only saved his life, but spared me much grief and sadness.28 I am very eager to send him back to you now that he is well, so that you too can rejoice in God's graciousness when you see him, and I will have one less thing to worry about.29 Welcome him with the joy and enthusiasm you would show the Lord, and honor people like him–those who are willing to lay their lives on the line for God's cause.30 He almost died promoting the message of Jesus, and most certainly risked his life in order to provide me the help that distance kept you from providing.