“Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise men but as wise, redeeming the time, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is.”
The ancient Greeks had two words for time: chronos and kairos. Where chronos is quantitative, kairos is qualitative. Chronos is about minutes; kairos is about moments. The Ephesians passage we have been studying the last few weeks uses kairos. The message is this: Be wise and recognize and respond to kairos moments and seasons in your life.
Chronos refers to clock time – time that can be measured – seconds, minutes, hours, years. It still appears in words like chronological and anachronism. Chronos time moves on inexorably and methodically. Wise people pay attention to chronos; they plan and manage their action within the time available. They know how much time there is.
Kairos is different. It is about moments, not minutes. Often it is used to refer to the right moment, the opportune moment, a defining moment. Kairos is time judged not by its duration, but by its importance and value. Kairos also refers to a period of time that is significant, and therefore is sometimes translated “season.”
Kairos is a window of time that requires an intentional, purposeful response. It is a time in which life-shaping decisions are made. It is a defining moment. Wise people recognize and respond to kairos moments. They know what kind of time it is.
Kairos is the word for time used Ephesians 5.15-16, and it is the principle implied in James 4 and Psalm 118. The Lord is telling us to be aware of how much chronos time we have every day, and to pay special attention to kairos moments and seasons. Scripture makes it clear that to recognize and respond to kairos situations in life, we must look carefully, be wise, and know and understand the will of God.
Ephesians 5 reminds us that there are kairos moments during the day. There are situations that require you to slow down, see clearly, and respond wisely. Look carefully (akribos) for those moments and listen for God’s voice of wisdom.
There are also kairos seasons in your life. There are times in your life which require you to adjust your normal routine and pay special attention. Look carefully for those seasons and listen for God’s voice of wisdom.
Be careful. Be wise. Pay attention. Recognize and respond to kairos moments and seasons in your life. The pace, pressure, and demands of chronos can cause you to miss the kairos. Don’t get so caught up in the minutes that you miss the moments.
The Lord is calling.