Dress for Success:

Things to Take Off and Things to Put On

Text: Colossians 3:1-15


Clothes are very important to us, and it’s very evident when we look at our economy. If we understand how many billions of dollars are spent each year on making, selling, and buying clothes, the clothes we wear reveal our image to the people around us.

There’s a book written about 30 years ago entitled “Dress For Success”. It sold very well at the time it was written and it is still selling today. It has been updated, because the times and environment have changed. We all want to dress in a way that’s appropriate for the environment in which we find ourselves.

If I were applying for a big job in the corporate world, had the educational credentials, but went for the interview dressed in cutoffs and my Nike sneakers, with a t-shirt that said “Make Love, Not War”, somehow I don’t think I’m going to get that job!

On the other hand, if I went to apply for a job that involved hard manual labor (now that means a job where you’re going to sweat) and went to the interview in a 3-piece suit and tie, wearing $200 shoes….well, I don’t think I’d get that job either! Why? Well, because I don’t look like a guy who’s going to want to sweat!!!

Then I think about myself, as the preacher, and I want to dress appropriately for the situation. You might ask, “Well, Doug, what difference does it make?” My answer? “It makes a difference!”

If I showed up on Sunday morning and you looked up and saw me dressed in old overalls with a dirty hanky hanging out of my pocket with a train engineer’s hat on, wearing combat boots, what would you think? You might think (and quite rightly), “Doug, you need to dress more appropriately for the position you hold!”

Why is this?

Because it will detract from the message I’m trying to bring to the congregation! I should have on the proper clothes for the environment in which I find myself….and that’s what I try to do.

Another way to look at it is like this—think of former President Ronald Reagan, who was an actor before becoming president. Right after being elected, many people remarked, “Well, I don’t know how great a President he can be, but he sure can act like one!” I don’t know how good a preacher I can be….but, at the very least, I sure want to look like one!

I’m lucky, because I have people who love me trying to help me be properly attired. My wife, Lynn, is the first one who sees me before the world does. I dress each Sunday morning and, before I leave, I ask her, “Do I look a preacher this morning?” She’ll give me her opinion, and Lynn has excellent taste.

And, Lynn’s not the only one. Sometimes on Sunday, I wear a new tie, and when I come in, Dot Vaughn will say, “Doug, I love that tie!” And that makes me feel good, because I believe Dot knows what is in good taste too, and I value her opinion.

Then, there’s Elouise Kelly, and I value her opinion. One Sunday, she said, “Doug, I love that suit and the black shirt; and, I believe if you wear a red tie with that, it will look great.” So, I took her advice and I’m wearing that red tie today.

I love and appreciate these people, because they are helping me to “dress for success”!

In our lesson today, the Apostle Paul is talking to the Christians at Colossae about “dressing for success” and that their dress reflects the image of what they are. Now, Paul isn’t talking about the earthly clothes we wear—but he is talking about putting on the proper spiritual clothing.

We’ve been talking about earthly clothing—which may, or may not, be important—but the spiritual clothing we wear can mean everything for eternity.

The Bible tells us about a man who wasn’t dress properly—we find that in Matthew, Chapter 22. A king gave a wedding feast for his son. He had invited special people, some of whom decided they were too busy to come. So, the king sent servants out onto the highways to invite people.

Matthew 22:11-13

---11---“But when the King came in to look over the dinner guests, he saw there a man not dressed in wedding clothes,

---12---and he said to him, ‘Friend, how did you come in here without wedding clothes?’ And he was speechless.

---13---Then the King said to the servants, ‘Bind him hand and foot, and cast him into outer darkness, in that place there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’ ”

Now when we read that parable, we discover the King was God. The spiritual clothes we wear are very important to God. The Apostle Paul knew that—and that’s why he said what we read in Chapter 3.

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