What Black Coffee Taught Me About Jesus

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The first time I ever tried coffee I was eight years old. I woke up one Saturday morning, came downstairs to my mom pouring herself a cup, she asked me if I wanted one, and I immediately accepted. Big mistake. I took one sip and instantly regretted it. Why would anyone drink something so dark and bitter? My mom, amused, took my cup from me and poured cream and a lot of sugar in. I took another sip. With all that stuff in it, I could barely taste the coffee! Perfect.

That’s how I took my coffee for years. Light and sweet, that’s how I liked it and, frankly, it was the only way I knew how to enjoy coffee. But, I will never forget the first time I went to a fancy coffee shop with one of my coffee-expert friends. I was so flustered and overwhelmed that I had him order for me. When I got my cup, I immediately began to search for my trusty cream and sugar and he stopped me: “No, no, you don’t want that. You’ll take away all the flavor,” he said.

Take away the flavor? I thought all the things you add to coffee give it flavor. I was very confused, but feeling slightly embarrassed about it, I took my coffee black. Let me tell you, that was an eye-opening experience for me. For the first time ever, I realized that a cup of coffee, in its rawest and simplest form, was actually kind of amazing. I had just been putting so many things in it for so long, I didn’t realize that I was missing out on an awesome cup of coffee, just as it is.

In the same way, the beauty of Jesus, in its rawest and simplest form, can be identified in one of my favorite passages of scripture:

“But God demonstrates His love for us in this: while we were still sinners Christ died for us.” (Romans 5:8, ESV)

Read that back a couple of times. I mean, wow, right?! Seriously, how crazy is that? The fact that a perfect, blameless, faultless person (Jesus) would take his own life so that a bunch of imperfect, totally-blamable, fault-filled people (us) could receive life is just inconceivable! But that’s Jesus and that’s the truth. And as much as I dislike to admit it, I have been forgetting that lately. I know it and I understand it, but I can absolutely take the truth of Jesus for granted because I allow other things in life to water-down the amazing nature of the Gospel and who Jesus is.

Here’s an example: One morning as I was taking some time with Jesus and reading scripture, I caught myself fighting this poignant desire to just Instagram my quiet time. Though I would not have admitted it then, I wanted to show all my followers just how obedient I was being by spending time with Jesus. But the truth is, I was not exercising obedience, rather I was practicing disobedience to my Jesus. I was allowing my thoughts and soul to be consumed with this trivial desire to prove myself to other people that I was unable to truly give Jesus the time I wanted and he deserved.

Ever catch yourself doing something like that? Being consumed by all the things that revolve around Jesus rather than just being consumed by Jesus. There are so many things that revolve around Jesus but can distract from the core of who he is: how good (or not so good) the worship was, how noteworthy the sermon was, whether or not I had a breakthrough at small group, etc. Or for instance, my social media battle that I had. In no way do I think that these things are inherently bad. However, when we allow the things that we do that revolve around knowing Jesus to be the only things we know about Jesus—there is where the problem lies.

Something that I have come to realize is that when we put too much focus on the things that revolve around knowing Jesus—how great worship is, how noteworthy the sermon was, whether or not I had a breakthrough at small group, etc.—sometimes we can barely get to Jesus. Like adding cream and sugar to coffee to enhance it, we can add things to our lives and relationship with Jesus in an attempt to “sweeten” it. By doing that, it can distract from experiencing and appreciating Jesus just as he is, in his rawest and simplest form: our Savior, our Protector, the Light, the Truth, the Way—the One who bore our sins for us.

So, don’t wait 10 years to try black coffee, and especially don’t wait one more minute to get to know and understand our Jesus. You’d be missing out on the greatest gift we have ever received—and a great cup of joe!

Sarah Cullen // @itssarahcullen



Hey friends, I’m Sarah Cullen! I'm from a cute little town in Pennsylvania called Doylestown, but I currently reside in Nashville, Tennessee and go to school at Belmont University! I am studying English and Secondary Education and hope to become a teacher one day (for the money and fame, of course). I love a good book, I drink too much coffee, and I currently make and sell embroidery hoops for fun. My relationship with Jesus is a sweet one. He has always walked with me, even when I may have wanted to walk alone. I’ve been striving to live every day for Him ever since the first time the Holy Spirit captivated my heart. I hope that the words I can contribute during my time with Delight are not my own, but the Holy Spirit’s, and they are not for my own glory, but for His!