Make the Coffee – First Things First in the Christian Life 


By Bethany Riehl 

Have you ever thought about the fact that we have to make the coffee before we can drink the coffee; but we need to drink the coffee to have enough brain juice to make the coffee? 

And yet, if my social media feeds can act as research, we all do this: we find a way to make the coffee in order to drink the coffee. Some of us don’t mind making it the night before, thus having it ready to go when we wake up. Of course, the real coffee snob connoisseurs believe that this ruins the integrity of the coffee beans. But we’re not here to talk about that. 

What does coffee have to do with Christian Living anyway? Nothing. Absolutely nothing. 

However, most of the Christian life can be summed up in doing the thing before we feel like doing the thing in order to do the thing. 

Or, more simply said, we obey first and feel like it later. 

Sure, we might stumble around, stubbing our toes and spilling coffee grounds along the way – to stick with the whole coffee thing – and we will need to clean up our messes, but first we obey. 

We read His Word, not to feel at peace, but we feel at peace because we read His Word. 

We worship, not only when we feel like it; we worship because He is worthy. And the more we worship, the more we desire to worship. 

We live out the one anothers so that we can love the Body of Christ in action; we don’t wait for the Body to love us. And by obeying and serving the Body we tend to find ourselves loving and wanting to serve the Body, savvy?   

But how do we do this? This isn’t mind-blowing information, I realize. After all, most of us have read these admonitions in Scripture. I know the command and I want to obey, but my flesh digs its heels in the dirt and contemptuously pouts, “How? How do I do the thing when I don’t feel like doing the thing?” 

We speak to our souls instead of listening to our hearts. 

Sometimes – so often! – that is akin to dragging a dog on a leash that doesn’t want to leave the park, but we simply trust the process that God has laid out for us and simply obey. 

Before we want to obey. 

Making the coffee so that we can drink the coffee, you see? We do it every day for much smaller pleasures. What greater pleasure than to please our Master? 

David shows us this practice over and over in the Psalms but it’s easy to miss if we’re not paying attention. He says in so many words, “Cheer up, Soul! Listen here. God is good. He is gracious. He is kind. Why are you fretting and whining and going about with a long face? Put your hope in Him!” 

It might be true that your world is falling apart – look to the One that holds all things in His hands. 

It might be true that you’ve lost your zeal and have no idea when you’ll get it back – look to the One that was filled with zeal for the Father on your behalf. 

It might be true that you’re being treated unfairly – look to your Defender. 

In this day and age, it is difficult to avoid messages about taking care of ourselves first, cutting people out that don’t “serve” us, or that God came to make our brokenness beautiful, and that we should press into it. That as long as we keep bad thoughts to ourselves, we’re fine. 

Or the worst lie: that as long as we’ve believed in Jesus for our salvation, we’re free to behave however we want. 

Oh, Christian. Do you not know that He died not only to forgive our sins but to free us from our futile way of living (1 Peter 1:18)? We’re not done. Saved, yes; and saved by grace alone. We cannot work ourselves into salvation, we cannot earn it. Jesus’ blood alone can atone for our sin. But, He didn’t save us just to give us a pass to eternal life. He saved us to make us holy  (Colossians 3). He wants us to be like Him for our good and His glory. 

It’s easy to gloss over the process of becoming like Jesus. When we were saved, we were (past tense) justified (declared forgiven); now we’re being (present tense) sanctified (made more like Jesus as we work with the Spirit to obey Him in all things); and one incredible day, we will go to be with Him and will be (future tense) glorified forever. 

Ever heard the saying, “God doesn’t want us to be happy, He wants us to be holy”? At first blush, it’s true. But look closer. That seems to imply that we can’t be both at the same time. 

What greater happiness can the Christian have but to be holy like our Lord? As if sin is something we’re missing out on. 

Let me ask you, when has sin ever served you? 

And going back to feeling like obeying, when have you ever willed your feelings to do your bidding? 

We trust the Lord and His process because He is trustworthy. We obey before we want to because He’s already fulfilled perfection for us. We do our very best, knowing that it won’t be enough, but thanking Him for coming alongside us. 

We don’t coast the rest of our lives, waiting for our feelings or inspiration to match what we must do in action. I’m still drawing on my running experience this summer, so I must add that I often didn’t feel like running, but to get to the finish line of four half marathons, I had to spend my summer running anyway. 

How? I put on my shoes, went outside, and ran, whether I felt like it or not. 

How can we pursue holiness when we don’t feel like it? 

“Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfector of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God” (Hebrews 12:1-2, bold mine). 

By the grace and power and mercy of God, we can do this. 


Bethany Riehl lives in the Treasure Valley with her husband, three kids, and one super chill dog. She writes articles and fictional novels when she can, and her one desire is to point others to the love and sufficiency of Jesus Christ. 

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