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.