Welcome to a new week of episodes with John Piper on the Ask Pastor John podcast. Today we talk energy drinks. José writes in:
“Pastor John, energy drinks are controversial in our youth group, and as someone who likes them, I was wondering if there are any negative effects or reason to not drink them. They help me focus and have energy during my work shift. I only drink one every two or three days, but I would like to have some spiritual insight in order that I may run this race without being slowed down.” He ends with a smiley emoticon.
Pastor John, how should we think about energy drinks?
Well, it might be helpful to take our starting point from Paul’s words in 1 Corinthians about how he navigates the whole area of appetites — whether food or energy drinks or sex. What do food mean to Paul? How does he think about what he takes into his body?
So here is the pivotal text for me. First Corinthians 6:12–13 says, “‘All things are lawful for me,’ but not all things are helpful. ‘All things are lawful for me’ but I will not be dominated” — and I would say or mastered or ruled or enslaved by anything — “‘Food is meant for the stomach and the stomach for food’—and God will destroy both one and the other.”
Now let me pause there and say that there is a lot of controversy around what in Paul’s chapter here are slogans from his adversaries in Corinth and what are his own words. So, it might be a slogan: “Food is meant for the stomach and the stomach for food.” And so they are justifying all kinds of things. But whatever the case is on that point, Paul’s point becomes clear in what follows: “The body is not meant for sexual immorality, but for the Lord, and the Lord for the body. And God raised the Lord and will raise us up by his power. Do you not know your bodies are members of Christ?” (1 Corinthians 6:13–15).