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What Vice is Holding You Back?

Are you free? I mean really free in Christ Jesus to live the abundant life that He died to give you? If your answer is no, like many, then perhaps you are holding on to something or someone that is holding you back or keeping you in sin.

Webster’s 1828 Dictionary defines a vice as “any voluntary action or course of conduct which deviates from the rules of moral rectitude (goodness), any moral unfitness of conduct." The word vice is also used to denote a habit of transgressing.

Therefore, all falsehood, unfaithfulness, deception, lewdness and the like are a vice. The excessive indulgence of passions and appetites which in themselves are innocent but used as a crutch or comfort is a sin. defines the word vice in a similar was such as, an immoral or evil habit, depraved behavior, sexual immorality, especially prostitution, a fault, defect or shortcoming.

We can see how this word represents sin and transgression. We can also see by today’s definition that the words defect or shortcoming is weak in comparison to the earliest of definitions.

The definition describes the word vice as a sin without using the word sin. Before the definition gets to the word “shortcoming,” we see the words immoral, evil, depraved, and sexually immoral. In a world that lives by the motto “everything goes,” one must ask by whose standards are these behaviors defined? How can the word vice remain as harsh as is defined when the world has removed the One who draws the line between righteous and immoral?

We often hear people say, “oh it is just my vice” or “my vice is ___,” fill in the blank. For those of you who are not familiar with the word vice perhaps you may consider the word crutch. Though they are not the same by definition they are used as the same language when one describes something they depend on to help them through something.

The word vice is often used to describe a bad habit such as smoking, emotional eating or other such things. When taking prescription drugs for certain issues such as anxiety and depression one may call it their vice as well. Most people use this word loosely because they are not aware of the intensity of its meaning.

How Does God Define a Vice?

A vice operates out of a stronghold, a wrong mindset. This mindset either enforces pride that instills an attitude of entitlement that allows one to sin; or, the mindset is of a bondage that instills dependency on the vice.

You may be surprised by the definition of vice in the Bible. Vice is translated from the Greek word kakía in the Strong’s Concordance (G2549). It is defined as malice, maliciousness, evil, and wickedness.

For this is the will of God, that by doing good you may put to silence the ignorance of foolish men-- 16 as free, yet not using liberty as a cloak for vice, but as bondservants of God. - 1Pe 2:15-16

The only time we see kakia translated to the English word vice is in the New King James Version in the verse above. In the KJV the word vice is translated as maliciousness! The warning to us in the writings of Peter is that we should never presume our salvation is so secure that we can sin! Nor should we take our freedom in Christ as a license to disobey those in authority. We are not to boast about our power in the Lord when all the while we are subjecting ourselves to the power of sin and demonic spirits by the use of a vice!

Malice is a desire to inflict injury on another either because of a hostile impulse or out of deep-seated meanness; an evil intent on the part who commits a wrongful act. So, maliciousness is intentional, purposeful sin against another. I believe this type of behavior can be directed at self as well.

God is uncovering and exposing hidden sins in the areas of “bad habits.” The Psalmist cried out to the Lord to keep him from presumptuous sins which are prideful sins that have dominion over a person. For a believer, these sins are hidden in the heart of man or woman and can be in the form of unforgiveness and bitterness resulting in malicious gossip.

People can use many things as a vice. If you have a vice, then you are likely in idolatry; a vice is often an idol. An idol is something that one runs to first and elevates its ability to bring them peace, joy, or comfort before anything or anyone else.

Discover Your Vice

How can you know if you have a vice? To discover ungodly relationships, habits, and practices in your life that may have become a vice or an idol one must seek the Holy Spirit to reveal these things and break their power.

Here are a few examples that a person may use as a vice or crutch.

  • Drugs

  • Illegal and Legal

  • Alcohol

  • Work

  • Masturbation

  • Pornography

  • Sex

  • Relationships

  • Counselors

  • Pastors

  • Teachers

  • Employers

  • Friends

  • Religion

  • Ungodly music

  • Exercise

Apostle Paul said all things are lawful for me but not everything was good for me, but I will not be brought under the power of any. Once a lawful (or unlawful) thing or person takes up residence in your life and is elevated over God's presence, it now has power over you and is an open door for demonic spirits to gain power over you as well.

Before we are born again, the Bible tells us that we ourselves were also once foolish, disobedient, deceived, serving various lusts and pleasures, living in malice and envy, hateful and hating one another. - Tit 3:3 Notice how the word malice is represented in this verse. It is grouped in with foolishness, disobedient, deceived, hate, and serving a variety of lusts and pleasures. Most vices serve a purpose in our lives, to please the flesh.

We are commanded to Let all bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor, and evil speaking be put away from you, with all malice. - Eph 4:31 We are also commanded to lay aside (put away, get rid of) all malice, all deceit, hypocrisy, envy, and evil speaking (Ja 1:21). And again, put off all these: anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy language out of your mouth. - Col 3:8

Take a moment and think about the things in your life that you run to as your helper instead of running to God.

How did we get so far away from the truth of what God calls sin that we consider a vice a minor bad habit or imperfection in our personality? Vice = maliciousness = sin.

Let’s pray,

Heavenly Father, I am wrecked at the thought of standing before You one day with my excuses for sin. Help me today to confess every vice, every stronghold, and every form of maliciousness as sin. I ask for Your Spirit to open my heart up to the reality of sin in my life and help me identify those hidden things that I have dismissed as simply bad habits. I ask Your forgiveness today and that I might be found with a pure heart and clean hands. In Jesus name, Amen

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