A Teen True Testimony: How I Overcome My Online Game Addiction
By William, Philippines
I am William. I am 17 years old and from Manila in Philippines. When I was in Grade 2, I already knew how to play computer games. At the beginning, I just played games occasionally. But little by little, I liked the feeling of fighting in the games. Once I had money, I went to the Internet cafe to play games with my friends, and I often even ran out of my money for food. Gradually, I grew weary of studying, and I was often absent from school. My grades went down greatly, and I didn’t want to go to school. Even though I forced myself to stay at school, I was in no mood to listen to teachers, my mind filled with the thoughts of how to continue playing games after school, what equipment and weapons I should use, and what schemes I should adopt to defeat enemies. In my school, many of my classmates played games. We often came together to discuss what updates there were lately and how to play new games. At that time, I was not interested in any topic except games. I communicated with my parents less and less, and even my attitude toward my young brother changed. Not only did I not care about him, but I often fought with him at home. Later, I treated the Internet cafe as my home. Unless I had my meals and asked for money from my parents, I wouldn’t go home, staying at the Internet cafe, even on Christmas Day, New Year’s Day, or my Birthday. Sometimes I told lies to my parents in order to get money for games. They found me addicted to games, so they warned me that I should spend my energy on my study, so that I could find a good job in the future. However, no matter how they persuaded me, I completely ignored their words and even talked back to them.
Once, my school sent the report on my examination to my parents. When they saw my grades, they were terribly disappointed and ordered me once again to stop playing games and study hard. Only then did I feel a bit disappointed about my life. I used to have many beautiful wishes, hoping that I could get good grades at school, finish my study successfully, and find a stable job in the future. But on the contrary, I wasted plenty of time on games and so delayed my studies. Then I tried to give up games bit by bit and focus on my study, but my desire was so great that I couldn’t help myself each time. Later, I read a piece of horrible news that two young men fought violently because of arguing while playing games, one killing the other. At that time, I had fear in my heart and worried about myself. Because I also often said some bad words to others, I was afraid that they might hate me and do the same thing to me. From then on, I was even more cautious when I played games. However, I still couldn’t get rid of them. Just when I couldn’t free myself from this situation, God’s end-time work came upon me.
In September 2016, my classmate testified about God’s end-time work to me. He told me that this stage of God’s new work is to cleanse our sin and free us from its bondage in order that we could receive God’s salvation and enter into the kingdom of heaven. After his fellowship, I pondered carefully. Although I believed in the Lord, I did still live in sin. I often played games and couldn’t get rid of them, and I wanted to go back home earlier playing games even on Sunday Service. I always committed sins like this, so how could I enter into the kingdom of heaven? I felt that it was indeed my need that God came again to the world to do the work of judgment and Chastisement to save man from sin, and I hoped that God could save me from games. So I accepted God’s end-time work.
After accepting God’s work, I ate and drank God’s word every day. One day, I read these words of God: “The flesh belongs to Satan. Within it are extravagant desires, it thinks only for itself, it wants to enjoy comfort, and revel in leisure, wallowing in sloth and idleness, and having satisfied it to a certain point you will ultimately be eaten up by it. Which is to say, if you satisfy it this time, next time it will come asking for more. It always has extravagant desires and new demands, and takes advantage of your pandering to the flesh to make you cherish it even more and live among its comforts—and if you don’t overcome it, you will ultimately forfeit yourself” (“Only Loving God Is Truly Believing in God”). From God’s words, I suddenly understood that the flesh belongs to Satan, that Satan made use of our fleshly desires to control us, and that when we satisfied our fleshly desires and enjoyments, we were also satisfying Satan. Satan was making use of games to tempt me so that I would satisfy it continually. In the past I was unable to play games, and then I was addicted to them and couldn’t help myself. I even spent all my money on them and neglected my studies. This was all because I always satisfied my desires. If I continued indulging myself, I would be more and more decadent and forfeit myself in the end. When I thought about this, I realized that I must stop playing games, and I suddenly had strength in my heart.
Afterward, I tried my best to forsake my flesh. Although I didn’t play games, my heart was in torment. So I decided to go to the Internet cafe to watch my friends play games. I thought that I wouldn’t be tempted because I just watched them play. But later I still couldn’t resist the temptation and started to play games once again. I thought: It’s no big deal. I haven’t played games for long. It doesn’t matter that I just play this time. However, after playing, I felt so passive, and I simply gave up all hope and indulged myself. But at the same time I was rebuked greatly inside. I felt that I already had no opportunity to receive God’s salvation, because I couldn’t get rid of games. When I saw on Facebook the messages left by many brothers and sister, I was too ashamed to reply them and dared not to let them know I was still playing games. With guilt and regret, I prayed to Almighty God: “O God, please forgive me. Although I have followed you, I’m still committing sins before you, still playing games. May you help me overcome my weakness and give me strength to free myself from being corrupted by Satan.”
Later when I attended a meeting, I heard a word from sermons and fellowship from above: “6. Keep wisdom in your heart and stay away from evil and dangerous places.” A brother shared, “The Internet cafe is an evil place, where all things are from Satan and are tools by which Satan corrupts people. Once we enter the Internet cafe, our heart will be filled with the thoughts of playing games, and we will spend all our energy on playing games. These things will keep us away from God and hinder our normal relationship with God.” After hearing his fellowship, I totally agreed with him and thought that I must stay away from such a place.
After that, I still had a desire to play games when I passed the Internet cafe, but I tried to quicken my pace to leave there. However, my little brother also liked playing games, so at home he often told me new characters, items and new methods to attack in games or said that one of my friends was very good at playing games now. At the beginning I wavered a little bit and wanted to try new things in games, but when I struggled inside, I thought about God’s word: “The more you satisfy the flesh, the greater its desires become…” (“Only Loving God Is Truly Believing in God”) Under the inspiration of God’s words, I immediately realized that this was Satan’s temptation. So whenever he mentioned this topic, I intentionally stayed away. After I practiced like this, I felt so happy, because I didn’t fall into Satan’s temptation.
A few days later, to my surprise, I was assigned to perform a duty. I was very delighted. After seizing the opportunity, I gradually found my interest in computer games faded away. Not long after, there was an online game competition in the local. The owner of an Internet cafe invited me to join it to get the rewards if I won. But on the day of the contest, I had duty to do. However, it occupied my heart when I was doing my duty. Hence, I prayed to God, “Oh God, I can’t quiet my heart due to the competition. May you lead me to forsake my flesh and focus on my duty.” After praying, I was able to sustain attention. Unknowingly, the competition had slipped my mind. Later, in one meeting, one brother and I talked about this matter. During that time, I came to realize that it was duty that protected me. Without duty, I perhaps would had attended the game. If I had done, I would sink my teeth into it. My heart was full of gratitude toward God. Meanwhile, I had a desire for fulfilling the duty of a creation.
In July 2017, I entered a high school, where I got to know some new classmates. When I came into contact with them, I found that most of them played games, and I often heard them discuss new roles and new contents in games. Once, one of my classmates asked me, “William, do you play games?” I answered, “I played games before, but now I don’t.” He continued to ask, “William, would you like to join us after school?” I didn’t answer immediately. At that moment I was eager to try and kept hesitating in my heart: Should I play with them once or forsake my flesh? But soon I realized that this was Satan’s trick, so I answered him, “Enjoy yourselves. I won’t join you. I have to go home.” On my way home, I was very sad, feeling that I still couldn’t truly give up my desire.
After I came back home, a sister shared with me a piece of God’s word “Young People Should See Through the Evil Trends of the World.” God’s word says: “Let Me tell you, when people play games for a long time, their willpower would evaporate. The unbelievers have a word to describe this. What is it? It is ‘decadence.’ Always playing games, always playing on the computer—this kind of person is decadent. ‘Decadent’ is a word of the unbelievers. We say that these people have no normal humanity. They have been filled with the violence and killing of these games and with the things of virtual worlds. These games have stripped away the things of normal humanity, filled and forcibly occupied these people, and forcibly occupied any room they have for thought; they are then decadent.” “If games were needed for normal humanity, if it were the right path, then how come people cannot quit them? How come people can be captivated by them to such a degree? This proves one thing: That is not a good path. Surfing online for this or for that and playing games is not a good path. It is not the right path” (“Young People Should See Through the Evil Trends of the World”). From God’s words, I understood: Playing games is not a right path but an evil path, and games are like drugs, which cause people to be addicted and unable to free themselves from them. In the past, I was addicted to games, so I gave up my study and future, and my relationship with my family members and people around me changed. I cared about my family members less and less and even liked fighting, so that I became eccentric and selfish. Then Look at those who play games for a long time. They become aggressive, with their mouth full of bad words. They even killed others because of playing games, and many died in the Internet cafe because of playing games. All this is because games destroy people’s humanity, and this also proves that games are the means by which Satan devours people. The more we are addicted to games, the more we will walk onto an evil path. In the end we will be occupied and devoured by Satan. When I thought of this, I broke out in a cold sweat in spite of myself. At the same time, I was thankful to God that he could let me see clearly the truth behind games. Later, I read these words of God: “So you must cherish your time spent performing your duties, and strive during this time to firmly lay a foundation. In this way, you will be safe, and will not easily be carried away by these evil trends. Once someone has become fixed by the gaze of an evil trend, then they will easily be carried away. Once you have been carried away by an evil trend for a second time, will God still want you? He won’t! He has given you a chance and now He won’t want you again. If God doesn’t want you, you will then be in danger, and will be capable of anything” (“Young People Should See Through the Evil Trends of the World”). I realized that if I continued to follow this evil trend, I would be in danger. I would completely lose the salvation from God, return Satan’s domain, and never have the opportunity to follow God. God’s words also pointed out the path of practice to get rid of games, that is, to cherish my time spent performing my duty, spend my energy on performing my duty, and pursue the truth while performing my duty. Only when I understand the truth will I truly free myself from this evil trend. So I told myself that I would cherish this opportunity of following God that was hard to come by, never waste my life, pursue hard to know more truths, and try my best to perform my duty to repay God’s love.
Afterward, a more important commission, watering the new believers, came upon me. It’s God’s love falling upon me. I cherish this duty. Through spending more time on my duty, my interest in computer games has gone. Even though my young brother and my friends always talk about the games to me, I am no longer deceived by them. My old life has ended. Now, my only wish is to repay God’s love in my duty. I really thank God for His salvation. All the Glory be to Almighty God!