Is Fasting Just about Food?
Fasting is only biblically correlated with abstinence from food, but there is no doubt that fasting can be practiced more broadly. The core issue then becomes, “Does a lack of direct biblical reference prohibit us from fasting from other pursuits and activities?” Perhaps we can gain some insight into this by considering the general principle of giving. Throughout Scripture, we find examples of giving money, food, animals, and land. Should this prohibit us from giving other things? Christian lawyers and doctors often give time and free health care to needy families. It’s not uncommon for people to give away cars, boats, and other unusual items to charities. The argument is that we shouldn’t necessarily dismiss a practice if it is not directly mentioned in the Scriptures. If it agrees with the general scriptural principles of fasting, giving, etc., it likely is a worthy endeavor.
To “fast” from the bombardment of the media is very important today, considering our obsession with the electronic revolution. For some it is necessary because they are addicted to instant media (and of course the potential for pornography, etc.). To prove that we can live without these distractions is a wonderful discipline. Fasting from the media is an exercise we should be willing to do, keeping in mind that some people must continue a connection to media because of their business and livelihood. And certainly, most of us have to keep in touch with others by the use of our cell phones.
That being said, here is a challenge: prove that you are not addicted to the media by living without television and the internet for a week. You might find that these gadgets have a much bigger hold on you than you ever imagined.