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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

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 conversations, 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 6 am every day to spend time with God and I wanted that morning push, so I drank a cup of coffee. 11 am 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 or 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, 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 a 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 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.

Phil Chan
Phil Chan
Phil has been writing for over 15 years. His passion is to help people see God and to live a life that matters.

19 comments

  • Great post, I also see those same convictions about not needing anything but the Holy Spirit for energy!

  • Thank you for writing this. I am considering the change. It is a matter of dependence and desire to do more, always. Productivity can easily be an idol. Personally I am somewhat of a passion drained person. It’s seems to others that the only time I come alive is when I have caffeine. I will pray over this…

  • I felt the same and gave up coffee for over a year. At some point I became tired and depressed but instead of calling on the Lord I turned back to coffee. This I am giving up today.

  • I too have recently given up coffee. I had already stopped drinking other caffeinated beverages but could not give up coffee it has been two weeks and I am now oh so aware of my dependence of coffee. I feel terrible and all I seem to do is think about drinking coffee. But I am determined to be filled by the Holy Spirit and place nothing above him. For he is my strength and I know that I will be stronger in him because I am letting go of my addiction.

  • I am a Muslim & you have echoed my sentiments exactly. We have religious leaders in my community who partake of coffee & qat, a stimulant-leaf which peps you up. I used to chew until it dawned on me that this is evidence of incomplete faith and lack of trust in / reliance on God. I have since stopped and have recently determined to get rid of caffeine as well. I vibe with your view that a pure body, mind and spirit is the pathway to receiving and living in God’s energy. It is beyond me that some religious leaders depend on these substances while preaching total reliance on God. Keep it up. Peace.

  • Hey Phil! Love your honest thoughts here. I’ve been thinking a lot about what things I might be addicted (or dependent on) for my joy, and coffee has always an iffy one. I don’t think I use it to push myself past healthy cycles of work and rest, but I don’t like the idea of my body becoming conditioned to any sort of substance. Appreciate your sharing.

  • I decided last night to give up coffee and nicotine for the same reason. I wanted the 100% full Holy Spirit experience and I was prompted that these artificial stimulants were stifling me. My nicotine use was small and is easy to give up but I drink coffee all day every day. This morning is my first morning without coffee. I am wanting it pretty badly and starting thinking things to justify going to have some, when I decided to google it and your article was the first to pop up.

    My resolve to continue without artificial stimulants is strengthened. Thank you.

  • Phil, I just read this article and said to myself, I wish I could just thank this guy for writing this, whether I’ll listen or not. Then I see this comment section, and a way to write a comment. Thank you for sharing this story. Lately I’ve been getting some pretty bad physical pain from coffee, enough to make me stop for a bit. I do wonder if this is the Lord telling now is about time to quit this. I do like being stimulated by coffee all the time, but literally, for the love of God, perhaps I’d be better off without it. Thank you again Phil for sharing your story. God bless you, and please be well.

  • I’m struggling so badly with even giving up coffee what to speak of giving up caffeine completely.
    I often have dreams about going to an espresso stand or trying to get coffee. Maybe it really is “The demon bean”. But I feel like my spritual progress is being checked and haulted and I’m tired of replacing drugs for actual good feelings coming from real relationships namely with God.
    I did notice that when I take coffee what I really like is getting all up in my head and maybe trying to avoid my heart or just slowing the heck down and not feeling like I always have to be doing something.

  • Great teaching and encouragement. I literally just threw my whole jar of coffee down the toilet. I was using coffee to fuel everything including ministry and to be honest it was interfering in my ability to sense the Holy Spirit during worship and most times after my caffeinated service to God I would leave church feel irritable and drained. No more Lord you are my strength and if I need rest I will rest. Help us Jesus! 🙏🏽

  • I also have had the same experience. I felt convicted to not have caffeine and I now feel better than ever. It’s amazing how much better not having caffeine is compared to having it. I loved this story I thought I was the only one who felt this way.

  • I have prayed for energy many times. I can’t think of anytime that I have prayed for energy and strength to push through a day with minimal sleep the night before and didn’t struggle to push through the day without being grumpy or passing out in my chair, only to mess up my sleep the following night. I am confused. I don’t want to drink it all the time, but only when I need it. That being said, I have addictive tendencies. I have prayed for a solution and have not yet received one. I get so grumpy and miserable when sleep deprived it makes me mad when I feel conviction over caffeine use. Do I just have to suffer the tiredness? I can’t do it with a smile, that’s for sure.
    What’s going to happen when I get married and have children and I’m constantly sleep deprived. People get fat and sleep deprived and that’s bad for your health too, so the health argument doesn’t work for me, sorry. There is evidence coffee is good for the body, and even can improve cognitive health and performance.
    I don’t know if I’m hyping myself up or not. I guess I’ll just have to opt for suffering all the time, but I don’t know how to be grateful for it. It feels terrible being sleep deprived. I’m not some super dad or something that can handle 4~hours a night and work with a smile on my face and be all happy and spirit filled.
    What do I do?

  • Phil, thank you for your blog. I have been feeling the conviction to quit drinking coffee, but since feeling that conviction, I have craved it even more, and feel like the Apostle Paul, not being able to stop the things I shouldn’t do, and doing what I ought not to do. I do think my body is in rebellion to giving up coffee and seems to dominate me in this manner. May God help me overcome my addiction to coffee.

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