According to Robert's Rules of Order, resolutions are non-binding. That is, they require no action by the body passing the resolution. If Congress passes a resolution recognizing the brave service of a soldier, the resolution stands by itself. No action or follow-up is required. In the same way, if a legislative body passes a resolution expressing concern about homelessness in their communities, the resolution stands alone. No action is required. No affordable houses need to be built. No entry-level apartments or counseling centers are opened. Nothing has to be done. Resolutions require no action. They aren't binding.
Every new year, we make a big deal about our new year's resolutions. We're going to lose weight in the new year. We're going to be kinder, more sensitive. We're going to learn another language. We're going to do a lot of things.
And we do none of them.
Because resolutions aren't binding. Resolutions express the feelings of an organization at a particular moment in time. In the same way, new year's resolutions convey our feelings about certain aspects of our lives. We wish we would lose weight. We wish would eat better. We wish we read our Bibles more and we wish we were nicer to our friends.
But there's a difference between wishing and wanting.
Several years ago I was playing golf with a very talented young man. I stood up and hit my drive and like usual, the ball went way right of where I was aiming. While I was trying to watch my ball to see where it would come down, I heard my friend laughing. Now, I don't know if you know this, but it's very rude to laugh at another player's bad shot. It's considered bad form.
So, I asked my friend, "What are you laughing at?"
"I'm laughing at you," he said.
"Why are you laughing at me?"
"Because," he said, "you don't do anything in your swing to make the ball go where you want it to go. You just stand up here and wish."
That was the moment I learned there's a lot of difference between wishing and wanting. Wanting means you desire something and you're taking the necessary steps to make it happen. Wishing means you'd like to see something happen, but you aren't doing anything to ensure the desired results.
Do you want to lose weight? Then change your diet and start working out. If you're not doing these things, you don't want to lose weight. You're just wishing.
Most of our new year's resolutions are just wishes and without action, none of them will happen.
If you talk to anyone in the business world, most will tell you there's no shortage of strategic planning or visionary mission statements. What's lacking is execution. After all of the planning retreats, PowerPoint presentations, budget proposals, and forecasting spreadsheets, nothing gets done. Go into any church, regardless of the size and you will find a strategic plan the church unanimously adopted by the church sitting on a shelf somewhere in the copier room. After all of the leadership retreats, hours spent in listening sessions, and rounds and rounds discussing the proper wording of the vision statement, all culminating in congregational approval...
...and nothing was done.
So, the question isn't, "What are your new year's resolutions?" The question is, "What will you DO differently this year to BE different in the new year?" To have a different kind of year, we're going to have to make different kinds of decisions. We're going to have to do different kinds of things. So, what will you do differently?
The decision for the new year is to read our Bibles at least 6 days a week. We will join a small group that is serious about following Jesus. The result is, after a year, we'll be more like Christ. If, however, we resolve to be more like Christ, nothing will get done and nothing will change.
The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again (like new year's resolutions?) expecting a different result. So, let's do something different this year. Let's not make any resolutions. Let's change our behaviors. Let's change our actions.
Want a better marriage? Great. What will you do to create a great marriage? How many times a month will you go on a date with your spouse? How will you handle your arguments? What will you do differently?
Want to lose weight? How will change your nutrition? How many times a week will you get to the gym?
Love is action. Obedience is action. If we want to be different in the new year, then we'll have to do things differently.
So, what are you going to do differently in the coming year? Change isn't a plan. It's more than a word. It's action.