As a mixed martial arts fighter, Nikolas Boscarino saw himself as an "alpha male" and used violence to solve his problems before a second stint in prison brought a new revelation.
"I grew up fighting for whatever purpose needed to be settled," Niko admits. "I became very good at combat to protect myself and prove that I was not to be messed with."
Niko explains that being misunderstood, unfairly stereotyped or feeling disrespected was enough to set him off before a radical change happened in his life.
"I swung first, asked questions later. Now my approach and actions are humble and not violent."
Born in Arizona, Niko grew up in a strong Christian family, attended church weekly and knew a lot about Jesus but admits he did not submit to God in the way he lived.
"My life did not show who I believed in. That's where my testimony of transformation comes in," he says.
In 2002 Niko was arrested and served four years in prison after severely beating a young man in what authorities called "a gang fight".
He was arrested a second time in 2011 after a controversial altercation outside a bar where Niko allegedly assaulted some policemen during a drunken night out.
Niko was tasered 16 times during the incident.He believes he was unfairly treated and continuines to fight his conviction.
"Sad to say this incident caused my second incarceration [but] ... I have to admit this completely changed the way I look at life. My whole demeanor and approach in life has changed. My vow now is to live for Jesus Christ and not according to how I feel it needs to be done but God's will," he says.
The catalyst for this change in thinking happened with the birth of his daughter.
"God blessed me with an awesome angel princess," he says. "I feel my imprisonment is a time of refining, to help me to really know what I was doing right and what I was doing wrong."
As Niko had more time to think about what it meant to be a Christian, he realized that although he knew about Jesus growing up, he had taken Jesus' sacrifice on the cross for him for granted.
Instead of honoring Jesus in the way he lived, he acknowledges that the belief in God he had from a young age was nothing more than lip service up until this point.
Niko shares a verse that really impacted him from Isaiah chapter 53 verse 6 which says, "All of us like sheep have gone the wrong way. Each of us has turned to his own way. And the Lord has put on (Jesus) the sin of us all."
"Today I truly believe in Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior," he says after seriously committing his life to God.
"He died for me and rose again to conquer death. He sits at the right hand of the Father and intercedes for me. He covered all my sins with His blood and gave me eternal life. He is the only way to find eternal security."
"Now I live my life in gratitude to Him and not in vain. I want to live for Him and prove my belief in Him through my actions."
As God continues to work in his heart through the Holy Spirit, Niko shares that he has been able to manage his anger instead of lashing out violently like he did in the past.
"When an altercation happens I can see in a matter of moments how to handle it. I can see the consequences and repercussions. It has been hard for me to walk away instead of breaking someone's jaw but now I can accept what the world calls 'weak' and be strong for Jesus," he explains.
To others Niko ends saying: "Make your name a good name. Being in prison helps you realize what you take for granted and who your real friends are. Jesus is a real friend, your best friend. He will always be there for you."•