I am a Caffeine-Free Christian and Here’s Why

Don’t you know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own; you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body.1 Cor 6:19

Caffeine drinking to many Christians is a normal habit as it was mine. This year, I made one of the best choices for my health and for my relationship with God by completely cutting off caffeine from my diet.

Through a series of thoughtful conversation, experimentation, and prayer, this is what I’ve come to be convicted about: I stopped drinking caffeine so that my body could be more full of the Holy Spirit.

Like many, caffeine at some point in my life was becoming a normal intake in my daily diet. I woke up at 6am every day to spend time with God and I wanted that morning push, so I drank a cup of coffee. 11am rolled around and I would feel tired so I felt like I could counteract that by instituting the early afternoon cup of joe. And then eventually I used caffeine as an energy source and a way to focus on my studies when I wasn’t feeling motivated.

I kept finding new reasons and ways to drink caffeine and like many, eventually became dependent and addicted to it. I started getting headaches if I didn’t have caffeine, and I would drink it even on my “relax” days, just to function, let alone be “wired” for work.

This is my story of drinking caffeine. And I know that some people would say, “my caffeine intake is much worse than that.” And we can compare “war” stories of who drinks more caffeine, but I realize now that such comparative discussions are futile and honestly quite sad as they are reflective of showing off how dependent we are on artificial substances other than the God who made our bodies.

God did not design our bodies to be dependent on caffeine. God designed our bodies to be full of energy, but that does not include caffeine. Our dependence on caffeine is a product of cultural normality, excellent marketing, and the church’s silence on the issue because it is a legal drug.

The result of this fiasco is that we are overworked (ignoring our body’s natural signals of tiredness), overstressed (caffeine is a stimulant), and overspent (how much money do we spend to feed the habit?).

Can anyone see that this is not healthy nor godly?

Since kicking the caffeine intake, let me be absolutely honest about the results: I have become more productive, more energetic, I saved more money, and I am more free to be full of the Holy Spirit.

The way I did this? By listening to my roommate’s advice of “obeying God’s healthy cycles of rest, diet, and work.”

God has healthy cycles of rest, diet, and work–and the way we conduct our bodies in those three areas as working American Christians show our worship to God.

As I said, God created our bodies to be full of energy. And we do that by obeying the natural cycles that God has given us. When we are tired, it’s not signaling us to drink caffeine. It’s signaling us to (I know it’s a surprise)…rest.

Why do we push the holy temples of our bodies? Why do we push it past the point of normal functioning by neglecting healthy sleep cycles and creating dependence on artificial substances in the name of productivity, buzz, and God-forbid, even sacrifice for ministry?

I am convinced that habitually intaking caffeine is an unintentional statement to God that we are rejecting his original way that we should take care of our bodies. We are relying on blueprint he didn’t give us to live and an energy source other than the Holy Spirit he gave us.

I remember the time I developed this this conviction. I was tired, I drank coffee, became buzzed on caffeine and then reflected in the moment, “I don’t know if I’m buzzed from caffeine or full of the power of the Holy Spirit right now.” That’s when it really scared me that I couldn’t tell where my energy source was coming from.

I remember another time, being at a powerful Spirit-filled meeting, and the speaker was doing amazing ministry to people. And I saw her after the meeting downing a Red Bull. In my heart I thought–how we can do that as ministers of the Holy Spirit? How can we be so dependent on Him for ministering to people, yet have no trust in him that he will give us the strength we need?

How can we sing songs about the Lord being our strength, and how he will lift our wings like eagles, when the artificial substances we put in our bodies says otherwise? In American society, because drinking caffeine is so normal, people don’t see the contradictions inherent in those two declarations.

I’m trying lift the veil and say what’s normal is not healthy. And what’s normal is not godly. And what’s normal is not actually life-giving, but life-taking.

And for some who are heavily addicted to caffeine, it’s become an issue of poor financial stewardship because we spend so much of the money that God has given us to feed an addiction.

Let me be clear, I’m not writing to judge or to condemn.

I’m writing because I’m trying to believe everything I am saying with my lips–that God is everything I need and will ever need. I’m also writing because I’ve experienced freedom from caffeine, and it’s joyful and awesome.

I won’t judge you if you do drink, and I’m not calling drinking caffeine a sin, but I am inviting us to what I think is a more godly way of living that will actually give us life.

And I hope that you’d feel convicted about experiencing life and God caffeine-free too.

Posted by Phillip Chan

Phil has been writing in the Black Box for 10 years. His passion is to grow in his love for Jesus to obey his purposes in our generation.

24 comments

  1. SWong

    You have a point. I think I will try this.

    1. Joshua

      Yep I used to rely on coffee to get throu my days aswell now I’m free if I didn’t have a cup of coffee I would panic cos I wouldn’t get my high but the word of God says be not drunk on wine but with the spirit, goes for coffee aswell!

  2. Bethany

    This was so encouraging. I am in a daily battle to overcome this sin in my life. I will call it sin because the Holy Spirit has asked me to stop and I've ignored his whispers. Please pray for me to be delivered of this addiction as it is causing health problems in my body.

  3. Daniel

    Thank you very much for writing this post, it was very interesting and well done.

    I was wondering, what happened that you became more productive, more energetic and more free to be full of the Holy Spirit without caffeine?

    I gave up caffeine from coffee, pop, tea, and energy drinks for 3 straight months. I felt good for a couple of weeks and then felt exhausted, depressed, and grouchy for all but perhaps 2-3 days since. Had an 8 oz cup of regular yesterday for the first time and felt amazing. Very energetic and in control of my mind and emotions. I also felt like I had more faith and connection with God.

    No caffeine today and I am depressed again, foggy brained, tired, and grumpy. What are your thoughts on this?

    I read recently that caffeine can be used to treat mild depression, and has some of the same effects as an antidepressant (http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/emotional-freedom/201005/coffee-antidepressant-its-pros-and-cons). What is your opinion of antidepressants? Do antidepressants replace the power of God? Or perhaps do they treat the symptoms of life without God?

    Any thoughts or insight from your experience would be appreciated. Thank you.

    Daniel

  4. Guest

    Wow! Thanks for sharing your convictions. My body is highly sensitive to th effects of caffeine. I can feel exhausted but be up until 3am. It is physical torture. Yet I know folks who have no problem. It should be a conviction for those that know they are sensitive toward certain substances. Thought provoking!

  5. Guest

    I'm with you! You hit the nail on the head! I can identify with everything in this post.. not knowing if I was buzzed or full of the Holy Spirit happened often. I've been caffeine-free for 3 weeks after an almost 2 year addiction. I didn't obey God's promptings to stop so He did it for me. I had a 48 hour virus in which I was barely able to get out of bed (felt like the flu) so I couldn't drink coffee. In that time, I felt Him telling me "this is your chance". So, I embraced it. For 5 days, I had migraine-like headaches and depressing thoughts. He carried me through and now I feel even closer to Him! Love how he teaches us through our trials! Praise His sweet name!

  6. Melissa

    I love love love this article. It is amazing, thank-you for sharing. I have come back to this the second time today. Caffeine is something I’ve been struggling with and want to work on in my life.

  7. Assistant Village Idiot

    The scripture you quote is about having sex with temple prostitutes. It has no application to health habits, however much modern evangelicals would like to make it so. When you start by abusing the scriptures, I have trouble getting on board from there.

    If you think you would be happier without caffeine, go for it. Tell others. Buy advertisements if you want. But making it a version of Improved Christianity is a violation of the Third Commandment (2nd for Catholics), which states: Do Not Sign God’s Name Under Your Favorite Opinions.

    Do some homework, and stop basing your scripture interpretations on feelings of what seems right.

    1. Love

      “And above all things, have fervent love for one another.” 1 Peter 4:8

    2. woodard8

      Amen!!! Very well said!! Thank You!!!!

  8. Preston

    Thank you Phillip for your post. I’m currently sitting in a Starbucks reading your article and drinking a cold brew coffee (a highly caffeinated coffee). I know God has been calling me to cut off caffeine for sometime, but for the most part I’ve been unwilling. I’ve tried several times and each time have made excuses and fallen right back to where I am. It starts with a cup a day and can escalade to whatever gives me the most energy. I think its a product of how I lived my life as a non-Christian. I struggled with a drug addiction and this has carried over to my life in Christ with a “legal” form of drug addiction. A scripture that stands out to me and that God has convicted me of in the past is in Jeremiah 17:5-6…

    This is what the LORD says:
    Cursed is the one who trusts in man, who depends on flesh for his strength and whose heart turns away from the LORD. He will be like a bush in the wastelands; he will not see prosperity when it comes. He will dwell in the parched places of the desert, in a salt land where no one lives.

    Already I feel better about this decision to stop and will seek accountability from a brother in Christ. I appreciate your words and wish you the best of luck as you continue to follow the Spirit’s calling!

    Time to throw away this coffee and spend some good quality time with my Lord and Savior 🙂

    Preston.

  9. Jenn

    Great article. Just the encouragement I was looking for as I quit caffeine. Time to get off that cycle of addiction and use my energy for the work He has given me to do. I also don’t condemn those who drink it daily, but the Lord has been leading me away from it for a long time and I am ready to follow Him. Thanks, brother!

  10. Craig

    Thank you Phillip. Your article was confirmation. Actually, one of many confirmations. I’ve been disobedient. The effects of caffeine have compromised my intimacy and fellowship with Jesus. It needs to go. It’s become an idol. I want Jesus to be my stimulant and comfort. Not coffee. I love Him. Thank you brother for being used by the Lord. Take care.

  11. Brian

    I am putting down the coffee today, tomorrow and forever.. Thank you!

  12. Chris

    I love this, thanks for writing it!

  13. Sarah

    I googled “Holy Spirit caffeine” and this page came up. Also feeling lead to stop drinking caffeinated tea and coffee. I think its to increase my sensitivity to the Holy Spirit. Was hoping it was the voice of the enemy for a while, but no. So will see how it goes. I think God knows what is best for us as individuals. I am generally a spiritually sensitive person so perhaps this will help me to better discern.

  14. Don pierce

    Brother thank you for your Honesty and truth without judgement, no comparison but you said what I have been dealing with for years? Now by His grace and strength wanting the Presence of God’s Holy Spirit more than anything else, God bless and keep the faith! Don pierce

  15. Mark

    Hi, I really like coffee. Especially the taste and not just for energy. I know it’s bad for my stomach and it’s just as addictive as smoking. Like many people posting here, I also sense the Holy Spirit telling me to quit. I can go for a week without it then it just takes one cup and Im hooked again. I envy people who don’t like coffee. How can I give it up for good when I really like it?

  16. Jessica

    Thanks for the encouragement! I too quite for a few weeks and now I’m back to a daily cup or two. I also enjoy the taste and I do crave it in the mornings but I want to crave God the way I crave the coffee right away. It’s usually get the coffee going and then the quote time. It’s like it’s God plus the coffee. It’s getting warmer now and I use to run a lot and drink the very occasional cup. I’m hoping that I can substitute running again in the morning, a much healthier option and hopefully those cravings will go away! I don’t like feeling dependent on a substance to get me to a place of feeling better.

  17. Tyler Scott Culligan

    Hey, great article. Just wanted to back you up, it says to not be filled with wine but rather be filled with the holy spirit, so I think the same can apply to coffee. Great job.

  18. David

    We may be missing a very important point: coffee may be a blessing for some.

  19. Ezra

    Thank you brother. Day 2 without coffee. It’s become a ritual The Lord has convicted me of this sin In mylife what a gracious saviour. He just wants us to himself. Ty for the confirmation nobody understands this . Love in Christ

  20. jilawest

    This is beautiful. I’ve reached so many bumper moments where I have found myself facing a spiritual oppressive wall that stops me from going near Christ. This article was a wonderful read! People have told me to stop drinking tea because I do start having headaches when I take too much. There was a point where I was so stressed that tea became the main thing that was used to “calm” me down… but it had began to have no effect since I had drunk it so often… Instead, my body took too much, and had a negative reaction where my foods started tasting metallic. 🙁 I will start changing from now on. Thank you <3

  21. Steven

    I agree when the Holy Spirit came upon me. He got me to stay away from soft drinks. If I had a sip of one by accident, I would know because I would have a lot of guilt and pains in my stomach. I never knew why until now. Thanks.

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