Walking in the Power of Kairos
Line after line of text scrolled by as I flicked my finger across the track pad, editing my weekly lot of articles for an online publication. A comma here, a fixed link there, a capital letter here, here…and here. Most of the articles lacked zest and cohesiveness, but I was finally editing an article that was clear and captivating. Suddenly, my cursor hovered over a word, a new word. My inner nerd grinned gleefully as I quickly opened another tab and Googled kairos.
In Greek, there are two words for time: chronos and kairos. Chronos refers to the linear, measurable progression of time, and more darkly, takes the view of time as a master. We are all slaves to time and march to his drum. Not so with kairos. Kairos refers to special moments and specific seasons, and when used in the Bible, it refers to God-ordained moments and seasons. Immediately, the word took hold of my spirit.
“Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil.” - Ephesians 5:15-16
Ephesians 5 is one of the approximately 80 places the word is used in the New Testament. It’s often used in phrases like “in the fullness of time” or “redeeming the time.” In this passage, kairos is used to exhort the believer in regards to the times the church was living in. Just a few verses later, we find further instruction which helps the believer apply this truth.
“Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit.” - Ephesians 5:25
A sobering reminder for the newest of believers to the oldest of travelers with God. Do we understand the times we are living in? And do we keep in step with our gracious shepherd? I myself struggle from time to time to be aware of the times I’m living and to gracefully walk in the season God has given me.
My husband and I have been walking through fertility challenges for five years. While there’s nothing physical preventing conception, God’s answer for expanding our family has been “not yet.” That timing is difficult to accept when we are now one of only a few couples our age without children. This season at times feels all wrong, like wearing a sweater inside out and backwards. I feel left behind. I feel left out. I feel certain this is not kairos timing. My soul has strained to rush past the Lord, but that has only left me tired and aching.
One of the many lessons God has taught me on this journey (but one I know I’ll be learning for the rest of my life) is what it means to truly submit to his sovereignty by accepting his timing, his kairos in my life, despite my feelings.
I don’t know why God is having us wait to be parents. Perhaps the Lord is orchestrating our future child’s friend group. Perhaps there are world events in the works that because of when they are born, our future children will be perfectly in place to make a difference. Perhaps they are being protected from some unforeseen disaster, unforeseen at least to our eyes. Perhaps it’s none of the above. Whatever the reason, even though they are unknown to us, they are laid out clearly to the Author of Life.
But that’s just one example, so let’s broaden the implications of kairos in every area of our lives. What about the importance of walking in step with the spirit when it comes to restoring a relationship? Or what about witnessing to a friend or neighbor, parenting children, or launching a ministry?
All of those endeavors and transitions offer opportunities to lag behind or rush down the road. But we need to remember that both lagging and rushing meant that we are out of step with God. Both gears are potentially hampering to our walk or to the lives of those around us.
Where is God calling you to walk in the power of kairos? Are you also in a waiting season? Wait with holy courage, knowing the lags and delays so glaring in your own eyes are not accidents to God. Are you on the cusp of making big decisions regarding school, work, or relationships? Don’t let anxiety consumer you, but let God lead you and rest in his perfect timing.
I encourage you (as I remind myself) to remember that chronos is not our life’s master as children of God. Rather, God exercises kairos over our lives from the moment we are conceived to the moment we open our eyes in heaven. He’s not late. He’s not early. Let us be a people who are aware of the times, who are sensitive to God’s timing.
Let’s walk in step with the spirit, walk in the power of kairos.