In today's economic environment, it's a little hard to be confident in anything.
Watching the dollars and cents spiral upward at a dizzying pace as you fill your gas tank doesn't inspire confidence. Listening to or watching the news, as we hear about massive layoffs, certainly isn't cause for celebration. The continued crash of not only the housing market but of the institutions upon which they were built - Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac - and nervous depositors storming IndyMac Bancorp and other institutions to pull their money don't produce confidence.
There is not a lot in this world to inspire confidence, and yet, as Christians, we are called to not only weather this storm but to be confident. It is easy to be confident when times are good, but what about when they aren't?
We are supposed to be confident in Christ (Philemon 1:6) and his plan for our lives. Verse 19 of Ephesians 2 tells us that we are "fellow citizens with God's people and members of God's household." We are not servants, but members, and as members we have the full support of the master of the house - God.
Confidence is an often-misunderstood attitude. Very often, it can come out as pride. From time to time, people look at a person's circumstances and try to draw confidence because they are not as bad off as another. Or we become prideful thinking that God must favor us. We live in a fallen world with a falling economy, which can reach in and touch anyone's life at any time.
True confidence is being secure in the knowledge that you are in Christ. Being confident in Christ does not mean you are saying that you are better than others (judging) or that you ignore your circumstance. Rather, you are saying, "God, I draw my confidence in you - judge me and how I react amidst these circumstances."
In times like these, we often ask, "Why?" or "What is God thinking?" Our confidence must be in the fact that God is bigger than our circumstances. His thoughts are not our thoughts; neither are his ways. As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are God's ways higher than our ways (Isaiah 55:8-9). No matter what your circumstances, God ultimately wants reconciliation with all his children through his grace and mercy.
Mike Gowans is the lead pastor of Gateway Life Church, which meets in the Hamilton High School Auditorium, 3700 S. Arizona Ave., Chandler.