A Different Kind of Fast
America is so saturated with electronic media—the internet, movies, video games, television, radio, etc.—that we tend not to notice their effects. Although Scripture prizes silence and contemplation, modern media constantly fill up our minds, allowing us little room for quietness before God.
Yet God exhorts us to beware of worldliness and to embrace godliness (1 John 2:15-17; Romans 12:1-2). Jesus calls us to holiness. We should discern how our culture tempts us away from God. Because of this, I require my students at Denver Seminary to engage in a “media fast.” They abstain from an electronic medium for at least one week to note how it is affecting their lives. Most students choose television, since it is a widespread and powerful force. They note the changes that occur in their lives and reflect on several passages of Scripture that emphasize Christian virtues, such as the fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23).
Almost all my students report that they first suffer withdrawal symptoms. But they later become more peaceful and prayerful. Time is freed up for reading, spouses, children, and ministry. Lustful thoughts diminish. They are surprised at how much television (or some other medium) had affected them and what a difference the fast made in their awareness of God, themselves, and their culture. Many resolve to be more careful with these media.
I challenge you to offer your own “media fast” to the Lord and see what the Holy Spirit might teach you about worldliness and godliness in your life.
Douglas Groothuis, Ph.D.