In today’s reading, Paul faces adversity. He has been arrested and imprisoned. And it certainly doesn’t seem like this is due to lack of faith on his part; if anything, it is the exact opposite.
If we believe that at least at times the world is at odds with the plan and purposes God has for it, then to act in faith according to God’s plan is to set ourselves—at least at times—at odds with the world around us. In other words, it is to invite adversity. This only makes sense if one thinks about.
Though this squares quite nicely with the life and teachings of Jesus, it doesn’t square very well at all with Christianity as is often preached today. Following Jesus is not the way to get ahead or find the life we’ve always dreamed of as those things are defined in popular culture.
What following Jesus does do is alluded to in vs 15-16. It allows one to live with a clean conscience now and prepares us for the resurrection of the wicked and the righteous in the future.
Following Jesus does not promise us riches or abundant things or even that everyone will think well of us. It does promise adversity. Even so, if in the midst of that adversity we find our conscience is clean; and if at the end of that adversity we find ourselves resurrected the new life of righteousness with our Lord Jesus Christ…well, that still seems like the best bargain going to me.