"And he passed in front of Moses, proclaiming, 'The LORD, the LORD, the compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness, maintaining love to thousands, and forgiving wickedness, rebellion and sin. Yet he does not leave the guilty unpunished; he punishes the children and their children for the sin of the parents to the third and fourth generation.'" -Exodus 34:6-7
Have you ever had a problem that you simply could not get rid of? Have you ever had something, whether it was an emotion, a habit, or a particular thought pattern, that no matter how hard you tried, you could rid yourself of it -- even after confession and repentance? After we become a Christian and we are born again, this doesn't mean that our battle with sin is over. It simply means that we have become "new in Christ." (2 Corinthians 5:17) Freedom from sin is a journey as God reveals what is hidden in our hearts, bringing them to light and into His cleansing power. (1 John 1:7)
Sometimes we may struggle with something that we've always seemed to struggle with. This problem may have had an origin long ago -- even before we were born. We may notice that those in our family struggle with similar issues, or perhaps we never noticed the issue was a sin before we became a Christian. But as we walk along on our journey, the Holy Spirit begins to reveal certain things to us that were once okay and are now not as okay anymore. We may realize that something has a hold on our life that shouldn't.
Once I heard a man speak to a church group about his struggles with sexual sin. He explained to the audience that infidelity and sexual thoughts were something that he had always struggled with, and he had never known life without these issues. He kept on going through "sin management", where he confessed and repented for his actions but would see the same issue rear its ugly head 6 to 8 weeks later.
Eventually, this man received a revelation from the Holy Spirit through reading the scripture that true confession means to discover the root of the issue and repent of it in order to get free. Since he had no recollection of when the issue began, he realized he was not the one who opened this door to sin initially. Only when he confessed the genesis of these issues where they began from his father and grandfather, was he able to become truly free of their influence. (See Exodus 34:7, Deuteronomy 5:8)
Are there any issues in your life that you struggle with continuously? Pray and ask God to show you where they may have their root. He is faithful to forgive and cleanse us so we can have complete freedom in Him!