Christianity Today reports that in 2020, the top worldwide search on the Bible app was Isaiah 41:10:
“Do not fear, for I am with you; do not be afraid, for I am your God. I will strengthen you; I will help you; I will hold on to you with my righteous right hand.”
2020 has been a dark year for many. And amid the headline issues of a worldwide pandemic, social tensions, and rising political animosity, millions more are secretly grappling with bondage to porn.
If we look at Isaiah 41:10 and the surrounding context, we learn four things about God and His character. These four things offer hope and encouragement for all Christians, and particularly to anyone who is struggling. This verse offers hope and comfort to the downtrodden and oppressed. The context of Isaiah 41:10 is a wonderful rallying cry for anyone facing difficult times, and particularly those enmeshed in the clutches of porn or other unwanted sexual behaviors.
1. God’s Power
Isaiah 41 makes it clear that people are not to fear because God is the one in control. Verse 2 illustrates God’s power in contrast to the power of the nations surrounding God’s people, “The Lord hands nations over to him, and he subdues kings. He makes them like dust with his sword, like wind-driven stubble with his bow.”
Porn can seem like an overwhelmingly powerful force. If you’ve struggled with it for any amount of time, then most likely you feel like you’ve been subdued or made into “wind-driven stubble” by porn.
But porn’s power is nothing compared to the power of God. Just like God subdues kings and makes them like dust, so too He has power over porn and its influence on your life.
2. God’s Provision
Isaiah 41:10 tells God’s people He will strengthen and help them. Verses 13 and 14 reiterate God’s statement, “I will help you.”
If you are struggling with porn, you know just how much you need God’s help and strength. Isaiah 41 reminds us that God cares about our struggles. He has promised to help those who call on His name.
You may feel dried up and exhausted from your fight against porn—like you’re stumbling through a desert looking for water. At times it may feel like God has withheld what you need for your struggle.
Verse 17 makes this beautiful statement, “The poor and the needy seek water, but there is none; their tongues are parched with thirst. I will answer them. I am the Lord, the God of Israel.” Likewise, Jesus says, “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst after righteousness for they will be filled” (Matt. 5:6).
God has not withheld what you need. He provides everything we need for life and godliness, and His help to quit porn is there when you call on Him.
3. God’s Presence
Verse 9 makes this wonderful promise for God’s people, “I brought you from the ends of the earth and called you from its farthest corners. I said to you: You are my servant; I have chosen you; I haven’t rejected you.” And then we find the promises from verse 10 itself, “I am will you… I will hold on to you with my righteous right hand.” Then the end of verse 17, “I will not abandon them.”
A painful effect of porn is the way it pushes us into deeper and deeper isolation. We feel isolated so we look at porn. We regret looking at porn, feel guilty or ashamed, and this drives us into further isolation.
If you’re a Christian struggling with porn, know this: God hasn’t rejected you. He is still with you. His presence is there to guide you, to comfort you, and to make you holy. God will never abandon His children. And when you call on God as your Father you can rest assured that He will always answer you.
Throughout the Bible, we are taught that we experience the presence of God in and through our fellowship with other believers. Jesus prayed in John 17: 21, “May they all be one, as you, Father, are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us, so that the world may believe you sent me.”
One of the ways God’s presence is manifest is through accountability relationships—allies who come alongside you to help bear your burdens (Gal. 6:2), encourage you to godly living (Heb. 3:13), and to confess your sins aloud (James 5:16).
If you don’t have accountability in your life, you need it!
4. God’s Plan
Verse 4 tells us that not only is God powerful enough to accomplish His purpose, but He has a clear purpose for the good of His people. “Who has performed and done this, calling the generations from the beginning? I am the Lord, the first and with the last—I am he.”
The first and the last. That expression is an old literary device that means “both extremes and everything in between.” God is talking about Himself with reference to His plan for your life.
God’s plan encompasses everything—even your struggle with porn. Romans 8:28 spells out the same idea more clearly: “We know that all things work together for the good of those who love God, who are called according to His purpose.”
Have you ever thought about that? If you’re a Christian, even your struggle with porn is part of God’s plan of redemption. He can take—and will take—your brokenness and weave it into the tapestry of His goodness and grace in your life.
This doesn’t mean porn is OK, or that you should let it consume you because God’s going to work things out for good anyway (see Romans 6)! But it DOES mean that if you are a Christian, God’s purpose of redemption is at work in your life. Your porn struggle is part of your story of God’s grace, forgiveness, and healing at work in you.