Ask Dr. Land: Why are people so excited by the arrival of a New Year?

The arrival of a “New Year” is always pregnant with the exciting hope of starting over, of living life in the New Year better than we did in the one soon to be in our rearview mirrors.

Richard Land
(Photo: The Christian Post/Katherine T. Phan)

As we optimistically make our New Year’s resolutions, we are too often reminded by our adversary, the Devil, of our past follies, shortcomings, transgressions, and broken hearts.

For instance, as I make my annual New Year’s resolution to lose weight, the Devil reminds me of the many years since middle age arrived when I have made similar resolutions, with decidedly mixed results (I estimate that I have lost about 2,000 pounds in the last three decades. Unfortunately, I have gained about 2,050 pounds in the same time period. The math is unfortunate).   

When, in spite of our best intentions, our New Year’s resolutions most often falter and fail, I believe we should heed the advice of the pastor of the church in which I grew up in Houston: “When the Devil reminds you of your past failures (and he will), remind him of his future!”

Indeed, in the end the Devil is the biggest loser of all time and eternity. Ultimately, those of us who have trusted Jesus as our Savior will spend eternity with our Heavenly Father in the New Heaven. Conversely, the “Wicked One” will spend eternity in torment in the Lake of Fire (Rev. 21-22).

In Christ we win, and the Devil and his minions lose. We should act in the here and now like the winners we are. In between now and when eternity begins, when we rest in our Savior and his love and power, the lonely find friendship, the guilt-ridden find forgiveness and redemption, the addicted are set free, and the prodigals among us receive new robes, new blessings, and new beginnings.

I pray that each one of you has a joyous New Year in Jesus!

Dr. Richard Land, BA (magna cum laude), Princeton; D.Phil. Oxford; and Th.M., New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary, was president of the Southern Baptists’ Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission (1988-2013) and has served since 2013 as president of Southern Evangelical Seminary in Charlotte, NC. Dr. Land has been teaching, writing, and speaking on moral and ethical issues for the last half century in addition to pastoring several churches. He is the author of The Divided States of America, Imagine! A God Blessed America, Real Homeland Security, For Faith & Family and Send a Message to Mickey.

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