Consumers became more pessimistic during the last month. The Conference Board's Consumer Confidence Index fell from a March estimate of 96.1 to an April estimate of 94.2.
The index measures the attitudes of consumers regarding current and future business conditions, incomes and employment. Confidence is believed to be related to spending. Since consumption, or consumer spending, comprises about two-thirds of Gross Domestic Product (GDP), the index is followed closely.
Confidence is an important indicator of future success in just about anything. It has been shown to be an important indicator of achievement in school, performance by athletes, management success, leadership effectiveness and profitable long-lasting entrepreneurial ventures. Without confidence, too many lack the endurance to complete the task. Others will not put forth the extra effort to make a venture successful. Some will not even start the new undertaking, because they do not believe they will succeed.
Confidence is a belief in victory. Whether on the athletic field, in the classroom, on the job, in a business environment or on a platform, confidence expects that one's efforts will triumph.
Confidence is the hope that all can be overcome regardless of the obstacles. Confidence creates a peace within oneself and an assurance to others. Confidence is not arrogance or brashness; it is a knowing that things will be OK.
In the world, self-confidence is misplaced. If our confidence is based solely on what we can see, we are limited. We are designed for something more. Specifically, we are called to replace our confidence in ourselves with confidence in God. With Him, no issue is too great. No challenge is too daunting. Nothing that we face in this life is impossible. All things have a solution.
"But Jesus looked at them and said, 'With men this is impossible, but with God all things are possible'" (Matt. 19:26, MEV).
In the world, our past and current circumstances matter. Childhood abuse and/or neglect, rejection by others, sins, criminal activities, a multitude of debts and few skills can dramatically hinder self-confidence and the abundant life in the natural. But in the kingdom, we are new creatures and everything has become new.
"Therefore, if any man is in Christ, he is a new creature. Old things have passed away. Look, all things have become new" (2 Cor. 5:17, MEV).
In the kingdom, we should be the most confident of all peoples because our confidence is not limited to our abilities. We are sons and daughters of the Most High God. We have the right to use the Name that is above all names. We have the third member of the Godhead residing in us. We have a book of promises that are 100 percent reliable. We have a Father and King who loves us more than we can imagine. We have the full resources of heaven at our disposal. He has promised us the grace to help in time of need.
"Let us then come with confidence to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need" (Heb. 4:16, MEV).
We are confident that when we ask according to His will, he hears us and will give us our requests. It does not say that all prayers will be answered. Prayers that are guided by the lusts of our flesh, the lusts of our eyes or the pride of life are not of the Father. There is no promise they will be answered.
"For all that is in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—is not of the Father, but is of the world" (1 John 2:16, MEV).
"This is the confidence that we have in Him, that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. So if we know that He hears whatever we ask, we know that we have whatever we asked of Him" (1 John 5:14-15, MEV).
Let us have confidence in our God and pray according to His revealed will.
Dr. James R. Russell is professor of economics and chair of the Undergraduate College of Business at Oral Roberts University in Tulsa, Oklahoma.
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