"We are overcome by
the word of our testimonies."

Overcoming Temptation

I am extremely blessed to have two very loving parents that have pushed me in my faith. They baptized me as an infant in the Methodist Church; they themselves made a commitment to raise me in the Word along with the rest of the congregation. I accepted the Lord years later in fourth grade at an impact camp. I confessed with my mouth that Jesus is Lord and believed in my heart that God raised Him from the dead (Romans 10:9).

Unfortunately, while there were seasons in my life I genuinely wanted to learn more about the Lord, but I rarely pursued Him. I thought my fruits were the actions I didn’t do, like partying, having sex, smoking, and drinking. I thought as a Christian I was vindicated by staying away from the sins others struggled with, but in the process lost sight of the Lord and pursued other sins. I struggled with pride, deceitfulness, and intentionality with the Lord.

These were the sins I battled against in middle school, though I am still relying on the Lord to overcome them in my life today. I thought I was the smartest, most athletic guy who had everything figured out. I am so thankful God humbled me. I wasn’t the smartest kid, in no way was I the most athletic at four foot nine, and not in the slightest did I have things figured out. While my pride was diminishing, thanks to the Lord, I still didn’t rely on Him completely. It was an even bigger mistake of mine to believe my success here on this earth defined me as a person. This continued into high school.

In high school, I felt like I started on the right track. I thought the friends I chose to hang out with were believers in the Lord. In reality, they were just like me. Maybe they read their Bible here and there and went to Church, but they allowed the pleasing of others and popularity to become a priority, as did I.

What made my walk with the Lord so lukewarm were the conflicting seasons I had with the Lord. I continually pursued sin in school while the seasons of summer and winter brought me multiple camp highs through my Church. There were times in high school I was truly doing my best to live for the Lord. I told myself and others I was changing for the better and the Lord was working through me. What makes the Lord sad is the fact that I did my best to build this reputation of a Christ follower only to misrepresent Him a few weeks later. It’s easy to fall into the cliche’ Christian traps we’re all prone to living by like, “Nobody’s perfect” and “We all make mistakes”. While these statements are accurate, I believe they are fatal mentalities. We can understand we will never be perfect on our own, but the Lord tells us he makes us perfect in our weakness!!! (2 Corinthians 12:9). Subconsciously I was very susceptible to this line of thought, believing that my sins would simply be forgiven and I didn’t have to make much of an effort to change.

Constantly I based my mood on how well I performed on the field or accomplishments in the classroom. I didn’t have the maturity or wisdom to step back and look at the bigger picture. Thanks to this unhealthy reliance on earthly things, I become influenced more easily. Sophomore year was when I started to struggle with pornography and masturbation. Every single time I sinned I knew it was wrong, but I had no strength to fight it. Perhaps I prayed the Lord would help me with this sin, but not genuinely. My friends did it. The whole football team did it. It’s ingrained into society as a “healthy” and acceptable action. The Devil has made lust into a drug that I have fallen victim to.

It was almost like my faith had a switch, which is wrong on so many levels. Through sophomore year up until second semester of junior year, this is how my walk with the Lord could be summarized. Luckily the Lord intervened when I needed Him most. I recommitted to him in March of 2019 at a DNOW. At the time, I didn’t think much of it, but evaluating that period of time, I saw how the Lord was helping me take steps in the right direction. He took away my reliance on earthly success and assisted with my refocus on my relationship with Him. Surprisingly enough, this is when I actually started to play better in football and it looked like I would be playing a lot for my varsity team.

Unfortunately, a great season in my life was hampered by a hamstring injury that has never completely left me. I was out for the summer and would have been out longer if it weren’t my senior season. Surprisingly enough, the Lord made this injury a blessing in disguise. Was I distraught over the injury? Of course. However, what the Lord taught me through the process was invaluable. I leaned even more on Him and he really cemented into me the idea that no matter how bad or how good I do in life, He will always love me unconditionally. Injury or not, the season probably would have gone in a similar fashion. It came and went for me. I enjoyed it a ton but I was also ready to move on to the next chapter of my life.

As a Christian, I have always struggled with how blessed I have been and the little to no hardship I have faced in my life. I have constantly gone back to the scripture that says, “To whom much is given, much is expected.” (Luke 12:48) I have no understanding of why good has happened to me, but I will trust in Him and His plan. I bring this up because what has transpired over this past year is really the climax of my redemption story! What I have gone through is nothing compared to others, but it’s what has changed me and I am so thankful for it. While my story is by no means over, this past year will always be an important part of it.

Quarantine really wasn’t very bad for me. I got closer with my family, made a lot of money, and graduated high school. Unfortunately, a longing to see my friends got me in a lot of trouble. I was generally considered the stereotypical “goody goody” kid throughout high school despite all my flaws. After finally seeing my friends for the first time in a long time, I was very vulnerable to their influence. When I hung out with them, I found myself doing unhealthy things that didn’t honor the Lord.

It wasn’t until a little over halfway into the summer that I started to really fight these temptations thanks to the help of my cousin and her boyfriend. In the middle of July my family went to my Aunt and Uncle’s lakehouse. One night while I was there, looking at the stars with my cousin and her boyfriend, I opened up to them about my recent struggles. It felt safe and natural. They really helped me understand why my actions were wrong and the consequences of pursuing an earthly lifestyle. It put things into perspective for me and I asked for forgiveness.

Going back home, I was confident I wouldn’t fall into the same sins I had previously. While coming close, I thankfully never did. It was hard, but I slowly distanced myself from some of my high school friends and spent more time with family and friends that were a good influence on me. I went to college on a high note.

In college, the Lord truly blessed me. I quickly met my new best friend Jacob who has pushed me in my faith and through BYX, a Christian fraternity, I have been surrounded by guys that want to genuinely pursue the Lord just like me. I continue to tell everyone that going to A&M and joining BYX have been the two best decisions of my life outside of deciding to accept the Lord into my heart.

While I regret making the mistakes I did, I am overwhelmingly thankful for what God taught me. No longer will I judge people who partake in sinful things. I don’t lie to people about it; earthly desires do provide fun in the moment. More importantly though, I would never do those things again because I understand the sinful lifestyle that comes with it, why God looks down upon it, and how it kills people’s drive. When people decide to pursue these earthly things, they lust after others thanks to the music they listen to and the people they hang out with. On top of that, they lose their sense of respect and responsibility. I still see how a lot of my friends from high school have failed to flip the switch. They constantly party, they either don’t go to college or drop out, and it doesn’t seem like they’re going to change anytime soon. I understand now that God has a different plan for me and I’m extremely thankful he has revealed a part of that plan to me.

By no means am I perfect now. While God has given me victory over pornography, I still struggle with lust. I also find I still fail to make my time with the Lord intentional. However, now it’s different. I’m no longer relying on myself to overcome these things, but the Lord of all who loved us so much he gave his one and only son to be brutally murdered for our sake, knowing exactly every sin we would commit. That is love, and that is what I put my faith in.

Ryan Kasmerski