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Is caffeine addiction a sin?

Are you an avid coffee drinker? Do you have a strong opinion on Coke vs. Pepsi? Does a can of Monster get you through a late night of studying or gaming? No doubt, caffeine has become a part of many people's everyday lives. Some might have a hard time imagining going a whole day without some kind of caffeine. Does that sound familiar? Do you ever wonder if you're addicted to caffeine? Is this kind of addiction "acceptable" or should we be concerned?

What does the Bible say about caffeine addiction?

The Bible doesn’t mention caffeine or caffeine addiction, but that doesn't mean we stop there. When we don’t have an explicit command from God concerning an issue, we must look to other biblical principles for our answer. 1 Corinthians 6:12 says, “‘I have the right to do anything,’ you say—but not everything is beneficial. ‘I have the right to do anything’—but I will not be mastered by anything.”

Granted, the apostle Paul is talking about sexual immorality in this passage, but we can still apply the principle of "I will not be mastered by anything." Being "mastered" by something means that we're letting a desire control us rather than practicing self-control.

Paul is also insisting that the standard for Christian behavior ought to be whether something is helpful or enslaves us. When caffeine has become more than simply a "helper," if we can't be kind or respectful without copious amounts of caffeine, then we may want to ask ourselves if we're being "mastered" by a caffeine addiction. Our only "master" should be Jesus (Colossians 4:1). And He loves us more than any coffee could (1 Peter 5:7)!

Why is caffeine addiction sinful?

To be clear, caffeine itself is not inherently sinful. If you have a latte in the morning to wake you up, that's fine. If you have an energy drink on occasion, it's probably fine. BUT if you find yourself turning to caffeine over and over again just to function, just to have a good attitude, just to get through a normal day, then your sin is in allowing caffeine to control you through addiction.

Addiction (including caffeine addiction) is sinful because it causes us to rely on something external in order to function and/or find fulfillment in life. Like gluttony, alcohol, or sex, indulging in too much of anything on a regular basis can lead to addiction or idolatry. If we rely on a caffeine rush to get us through the day more than we rely on Jesus, we ought to seriously consider if caffeine has become an addiction.

Is caffeine addiction really THAT bad?

Some may insist that caffeine addiction is socially acceptable because it's not "as bad" as alcohol, drug, or nicotine addiction. Maybe not, but nonetheless, caffeine can be addictive and can certainly be harmful to our health if used excessively. Caffeine can cause anxiety, loss of sleep, or concentration problems if consumed in large amounts.

It’s easy to condemn alcohol, drugs, or smoking—especially when there are laws regulating their use because of how dangerous they can be. But the Bible is clear that we should not allow anything to have control over us. When we go to caffeine (or any other substance/activity) for relief from trouble and anxiety or as a way to make it through an average day, that is sin.

Again, having an occasional or daily caffeine drink is OK. Caffeine, in and of itself, is not sinful. But if you find yourself blaming your bad attitude, lack of productivity, or short temper on a lack of caffeine, then you need to look closely at your physical reliance on external things. Addiction is a sin that grows into a spiritual battle that can only be fought with God's help (Philippians 4:6-7). But God is with us and willing to guide us away from the things that harm us.

"No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it." —1 Corinthians 10:13

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TL;DR

Caffeine is not inherently sinful. However, addiction to caffeine IS sinful because it causes us to rely on something external in order to function and/or find fulfillment in life (1 Corinthians 6:12). When we need strength and fulfillment, we ought to turn to Jesus first (Philippians 4:6-7; 1 Peter 5:7). There's nothing wrong with having an occasional or daily caffeine drink. But when you become so reliant on coffee that you can’t even function, then it has become a spiritual issue that requires God's intervention (1 Corinthians 10:13).

By: Vivian Bricker

Vivian loves learning, studying the Word of God, and helping others in their walk with Christ. She is dedicated to helping people learn more about Jesus and is ready to help in any way she can. Her favorite things to do are spending time with her family and friends, cooking, drawing, and spending time outside. When she is not writing, you can find her soaking up the sunshine or going on an adventure.

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