2 If you find any comfort from being in the Anointed, if His love brings you some encouragement, if you experience true companionship with the Spirit, if His tenderness and mercy fill your heart; then, brothers and sisters, 2 here is one thing that would complete my joy—come together as one in mind and spirit and purpose, sharing in the same love. 3 Don’t let selfishness and prideful agendas take over. Embrace true humility, and lift your heads to extend love to others. 4 Get beyond yourselves and protecting your own interests; be sincere, and secure your neighbors’ interests first.
5 In other words, adopt the mind-set of Jesus the Anointed. Live with His attitude in your hearts. Remember:
6 Though He was in the form of God,
He chose not to cling to equality with God;
7 But He poured Himself out to fill a vessel brand new;
a servant in form
and a man indeed.
The very likeness of humanity,
8 He humbled Himself,
obedient to death—
a merciless death on the cross!
9 So God raised Him up to the highest place
and gave Him the name above all.
10 So when His name is called,
every knee will bow,[a]
in heaven, on earth, and below.
11 And every tongue will confess[b]
“Jesus, the Anointed One, is Lord,”
to the glory of God our Father!
Paul describes a community where every person considers the needs of others first and does nothing from selfishness; it pulls together rather than pulls apart, and it is a body that knows its purpose and lets nothing interfere with it. It is an extended spiritual family where others line up to become part of this sacred assembly and to make it their home because they feel encouragement and know they are truly loved. So Paul urges the Philippians to strive for this radical unity and fulfill his joy by having the mind of Jesus who humbled Himself, became a servant, and suffered the death of the cross. Jesus becomes the example of humility and service, leading to the kind of unity Paul imagines.
12 So now, my beloved, obey as you have always done, not only when I am with you, but even more so when I can’t be. Continue to work out your salvation, with great fear and trembling, 13 because God is energizing you so that you will desire and do what always pleases Him.
14 Do all things without complaining or bickering with each other, 15 so you will be found innocent and blameless; you are God’s children called to live without a single stain on your reputations among this perverted and crooked generation. Shine like stars across the land. 16 Cling to the word of life so that on the day of judgment when the Anointed One returns I may have reason to rejoice, because it will be plain that I didn’t turn from His mission nor did I work in vain. 17 Even if my lifeblood is to be poured out like wine as a sacrifice of your faith, I have great reason to celebrate with all of you. 18 And for the same reason, you can be glad and celebrate with me.
19 I hope in the Lord Jesus to send Timothy your way. He will visit soon so that he may report to me how you are doing. To hear all that is going on with you will truly encourage my heart. 20 There is no one like Timothy. What sets him apart from others is his deep concern for you and your spiritual journey. This is rare, my friends, 21 for most people only care about themselves, not about what is dear to the heart of Jesus the Anointed. 22 You know Timothy is genuine in the Lord’s ways. He has been a faithful partner to me as we express the good news, as much as my own flesh and blood would have been. 23 I expect to send him soon, and I will as soon as I see how things turn out here. 24 I trust in the Lord that it won’t be very long before I can come and be with you in person.
25 But for now, I think it is best to send Epaphroditus home to you. He has become my dear brother in the Lord. We have worked well together and fought great battles together, and he was an encouraging minister to me in my time of need. 26 He could not wait to see you all. He was concerned for you when he found out you knew how sick he really was. 27 In fact, he nearly died. But once again, God was exceedingly kind and covered him with His mercy. And I, too, by His mercy, have been spared sorrow on top of sorrow.
28 I am so excited to be sending him back to you! I can picture the joy on your faces when he arrives; I can feel my worries falling away. 29 Welcome him joyfully in the Lord. Esteem all spiritual leaders like Epaphroditus 30 because he placed his life in grave danger for the work of the Anointed; he risked his life to serve me when you couldn’t.