Measure of Faith – Paul and Silas

Is it possible to measure faith? Yes, although we may only do so for our self and not for anyone else. The example of Paul and Silas, chained in a Phillipian prison provides a wonderful foundation for understanding how faith may be “quantified.”

What is the measure of faith?

And they brought them to the magistrates, and said, “These men, being Jews, exceedingly trouble our city; and they teach customs which are not lawful for us, being Romans, to receive or observe.” Then the multitude rose up together against them; and the magistrates tore off their clothes and commanded them to be beaten with rods. And when they had laid many stripes on them, they threw them into prison, commanding the jailer to keep them securely. Having received such a charge, he put them into the inner prison and fastened their feet in the stocks.

But at midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the prisoners were listening to them. Suddenly there was a great earthquake, so that the foundations of the prison were shaken; and immediately all the doors were opened and everyone’s chains were loosed. ~ Acts 16:20-26

Contentment Amid Harsh Circumstances

To measure faith one must weigh it against fear. Such comparison reveals the degree to which peace reigns in your heart. Paul and Silas found themselves in desperate circumstances, yet were content. The evidence of their contentment is the presence of joy and peace in their spirits. Their faith in the power and grace of the Lord lifted them beyond their wounds and bondage. Indeed, so much so that they broke into song among their faithless fellow prisoners.

Paul and Silas modeled so powerful a testimony of faith that even their jailer was led to follow Jesus Christ.

Released From Spiritual Cement

The distraction of worldliness is a snare of enormous proportions. Even the most faithful and committed Christians find themselves bound by boots of spiritual concrete on occasion. When we encounter what appears to be an immovable obstacle, or feel we have been seized up and are unable to take even one step forward, our focus must be retrained onto the narrowest of paths until we find the cause of our lock-down.

Many times the cement is of our own creation. Faith is revealed through trial. Circumstances that cause us to fear, that wash away our gift of peace, offer temptations so rich that we cannot abstain from indulgence.

What is it that causes you discontent? Are you pressured by a request from the Holy Spirit that you have yet to act upon, or is there a wish, a desire, a lust, that by remaining unfulfilled causes you to stew about?

Content in any Circumstance

Faith Is Not A Passive Activity

Find contentment and therefore peace, by acting on the inspiration of the Spirit, or yielding up that lust to the Lord. Paul and Silas were first content in their circumstance, then peaceful, then joyful, and then released!

The first step is one of either obedience or of yielding. Either way the action must be yours. Once you are content where you are, you will find yourself released from that block of spiritual cement that once held you fast.

Faith is the absence of fear, the evidence of which is peace that passes all understanding.


  1. Char:

    I am reminded of the hymn “Trust and Obey” “for there’s no other way, to be happy in Jesus, but to trust and obey”.

    • Lynn:

      Amen. Many times I have an immediate response to a situation, then realize it is the lyric from a traditional hymn. Is it possible that the music of praise and worship used to center on the message, adding the melody last? I’m not sure that is always the case today…

      One phrase that has crossed my mind lately is, “Onward Christian soldiers.”

      Indeed, trust and obey. Well said!

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