As much as people seem to balk at dressing up today, it’s a proven fact that dressing for the occasion makes the difference. Just take notice how sports figures take on a different persona when they are in uniform. Look at how we respect (or should respect) police officers or the military personnel when they are in uniform. Think of how important you saw the need to dress for the occasion when you went for an interview. You probably researched the interviewer and dressed appropriately, or maybe you should have.
Dressing for the occasion is an appropriate way of life, no matter in what area of life we would like to succeed, including how we dress spiritually. Back in the eighties there was a popular book called, “Dress for Success,” in which the author noted trends, thereby giving guidance to those who wanted to “feel successful” in their business life. For instance, when he saw two people approach a door at the same time, the person who was wearing the lighter colored suit would give way to the person in the dark colored suit. Therefore, a dark colored suit became the “power suit.” It was amazing how you could and often still pick out people who are going to important meetings by their dress in “power” colors, even though the book is no longer the norm. As much as the “dress for success” standards seem to abide, the spiritual dressing for success standards are always applicable. We are given specifics about what we should put off and what we should put on in order to dress for spiritual success.
Ephesians 4:22–24 (ESV) — 22 to put off your old self, which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires, 23 and to be renewed in the spirit of your minds, 24 and to put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness.
Colossians 3:8–10 (ESV) — 8 But now you must put them all away: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and obscene talk from your mouth. 9 Do not lie to one another, seeing that you have put off the old self with its practices 10 and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge after the image of its creator.
Colossians 3:12–14 (ESV) — 12 Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, 13 bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. 14 And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony.
Obviously, as you review the list above, you’ll notice that you cannot just put on without putting off because if you put on compassion, kindness, humility, etc. without putting off the old self and your old manner of life then you’ll be a hypocrite which is simply putting on a mask.
Romans 8:29–30 (ESV) — 29 For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. 30 And those whom he predestined he also called, and those whom he called he also justified, and those whom he justified he also glorified.
God has told us that His goal for us is to be like His Son Jesus Christ which means we dress like Him – not literally but traits like those to “put on” are seen above those that we are to “put off.” Putting off and putting on is another way to look at the theological term of “sanctification” which is a work of God in our lives to make us more and more like Jesus Christ in our character as we die more and more to sin and as we grow in the grace and knowledge of Jesus Christ.
Philippians 1:6 (ESV) — 6 And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.
Another way of looking at this dressing for success spiritually is think of dressing like the Lord Jesus Christ which is to reflect Him and His character. Sounds like the fruit of the Spirit as opposed to the works of the flesh. Putting off those things below in the marked as “works of the flesh,” while focusing on the working of the Holy Spirit to bring out the fruit of the Spirit as you see below.
Galatians 5:19–25 (ESV) — 19 Now the works of the flesh are evident: sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, 20 idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, 21 envy, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these. I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God. 22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. 24 And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. 25 If we live by the Spirit, let us also keep in step with the Spirit.
To succeed in your walk with God, learn to depend upon the power and direction of the Holy Spirit applying the word of God to change your life to be more and more like the Lord Jesus Christ, thereby dressing for success every day.