Dress for Success in Relationships

February 25, 2014

494936_88709934While my13-year-old may not always, hopefully most of us put on clean clothing regularly. Feeling clean and fresh often motivates in a positive direction for the day ahead. In fact, one of the main suggestions for recovery from depression involves showering and putting on clean clothes every day.

Wearing clothing appropriate for the situation is also important. I won’t exercise in a dress, and I don’t wear my exercise clothes to church. Also, consider the fact that students often perform better on tests when they dress up. Appropriateness in what we wear impacts how we feel about ourselves and shows the importance we place on an activity.

Another example involves getting new clothes, which often revives a stale season of life. Most women (along with their husbands) understand that a new piece of clothing can brighten a woman’s day.

While these changes of clothing are temporary, many seek long-term happiness in changing what they wear physically. In reality, though, our physical clothing has limited impact on our long-term reality.

New Nature Clothing

Our spiritual clothing works in similar ways to our physical clothing, but it holds far greater and more long-term impact. In fact, when our internal clothing reflects that of our new nature in Christ, we discover an eternal perspective that transforms our living, growing and connecting.

Consider how, based on Colossians 3, our new nature clothing impacts us not only individually but also in every relationship.

  • New nature clothing represents a growing knowledge of Christ. (v. 10)
  • The right spiritual clothing creates peace that rules the heart. (v. 15)
  • Style and social position don’t matter with new nature clothing. (v. 11)
  • Continued thankfulness renews & refreshes the “outfit.” (vv. 15-17)
  • Love completes the “look,” bringing unity to the whole “outfit.” (v. 14)

We don’t make our own clothing much anymore but instead have to purchase what we want to wear. Our new nature clothing was also purchased and not something we make on our own. Only through Christ do we have this “clothing” to wear. And not only did He purchase this clothing for us, it never wears out… it never needs replaced.


Renewal & Relationships

So how does this continued renewal of our new natures by the spiritual clothing we put on impact our relationships? Our new nature clothing affects the atmosphere of the inner self which then creates the pervading mood that others see and that governs our relationships. In other words, how we dress our hearts determines how we live out love through our relationships.

Relationships provide the opportunity to express the love that our relationship with Christ generates. Only when we clothe ourselves in the new nature clothing of mercy, kindness, humility, gentleness, forgiveness, thankfulness and love that only come through knowing Jesus do we then have a demeanor that serves to positively cultivate New Nature Relationships.

DISCUSSION: How does your new nature clothing impact your relationships?

21 Responses to “Dress for Success in Relationships”

  1. cycleguy Says:

    I wear my jeans to preach in and my suit to bed. J/k. I do wear jeans to preach in since we are pretty informal. I only have one suit-for marrying and burying. 🙂 As for the new clothes? Those new clothes should affect every relationship I have-earthly and heavenly.
    My recent post Pigeon-holed

    • Kari Scare Says:

      Our church has quite a mixture from those wearing sweat pants to those wearing suits. I wear what I'm comfortable wearing, and it reflects my upbringing. Yes, our new clothes should reflect every area of life for sure.

  2. tcavey Says:

    Great analogy.

    Just today I was challenged to remain "Christ-like" while interacting with someone over the phone. It should not be this hard to get a refund for something I never actually received! But anyway, I was getting frustrated and God reminded me that I am not my own. He lives in me and He loves the person I'm talking with on the phone. That helped me take a step back and remain calm even though it's not what my flesh wanted.
    I still haven't resolved this issue and need to make another phone call, but I decided to renew my mind before engaging in more potentially frustrating dialog.

    • Kari Scare Says:

      Oh, I really like this example, TC, because it brings a whole new aspect into the discussion regarding our new nature clothing. It's not just the visible, what we see with our eyes, it's the attitude of the heart. Our clothing really transcends way more than just appearances, and this is a perfect example of how that can happen. In fact, it really shows how appearances can be deceptive, how the eye is so easily mislead. But the truth deep within our hearts always comes out, which is why we must be so careful with how we clothe our hearts.

  3. Deb Says:

    Kari, This is a fantastic analogy. I used to be one of those people who tried on a half-dozen outfits before decided on one to wear. Taking as much interest in our "new nature clothing" would have a huge impact on every relationship. The funny thing is that most of our concern about fashion is about what others will think about us. New nature clothing spends more time thinking about others than ourselves.
    My recent post Shh – It’s Quiet Day

    • Kari Scare Says:

      Thanks, Deb. I used to do the same thing when I worked out of the home. Lots easier now 🙂 You're so right though. If only we put as much effort into our new nature clothing as we do into our physical clothing, what tremendous impact we could have. And, as we've mentioned so many times, it really is all about focus.

  4. rickd3352013 Says:

    When I am going through the valley of depression, putting *anything* on is an effort and a struggle. I'm grateful that God has reduced those times to moments from months on end – not that I no longer experience depression at all (I do), but it is brief, episodic, and far more readily dealt with. No matter what? I get dressed for the day and try to meet God in the life He has given me, in the tasks He has called me to, and in the eyes of the people who will cross my path.

    Good post, as always, Kari – nice makeover! 🙂
    My recent post Three Things…

    • Kari Scare Says:

      Yeah, I can relate to that struggle even if for very different reasons. I too am grateful for the change in which depression lives and breathes in my life. I remember a time when I didn't get dressed, and I let my depression be the only clothing I wore. You always make me smile, Rick, both in your comments and in your presence. Thank you for that. Thank you, too, for noticing the makeover on the blog. I finally found a good "tech" person to do the work for me (my 15-year-old son). Loving the cheap labor & the extra connection with him!

  5. Mary Says:

    I had never thought of it like this. Thanks. As for new clothes, ya, they are nice, but since I usually put on the same jeans week in and week out, and have a ton of t-shirts, well I rarely buy something new any more. Different life style since I ride in the semi, but oh I still love to find a real bargain! That's what makes it fun. And yes, it does lift my spirit, but not as much as focusing on God. Too many in our world depend on the material to lift them, when what they really need is God.

    • Kari Scare Says:

      Good to hear from you, Mary. Been thinking about you. You're right about the seasons of life impacting what we wear. I do a lot of workout clothes these days since I work from home & just like to be comfortable. And you're also right that focusing on God is really what uplifts us. Hope you're doing well, friend!

  6. bettydraper1947 Says:

    Good post Kari…lots to think about. When I got saved I only owned one skirt and one dress top, I was a jean and t shirt girl. My husband worked for the airlines and they had a dress code when we flew on passes. Which is why I even owned a skirt and nice top. My pastor wife taught me a lot about dressing properly for different occasions. IN fact in that church it was proper dress unless you were in a dress or a skirt, no pants for women. Funny even in Papua New Guinea there was a dress code, long skirt, with long tops down to below the rear. Now men could dress anyway. Through the years I have put on what ever was fitting for where we were. Now we live in Southern California and I have yet to wear a dress to church, I love it. I love the analogy you wrote about…love the fact when God sees me HE see the blood of His son, His righteousness is my choice of style for dressing. Good post as always my blog friend.
    My recent post Facebook

    • Kari Scare Says:

      Thanks, Betty. Interesting to consider our clothing, spiritual or otherwise, with regard to difference settings and seasons, isn't it? And, the idea of how that all fits into different cultures is intriguing too. Knowing He clothes me is such a great comfort for sure! Thanks again.

  7. Caleb Says:

    I find that this is something that hasn’t to be daily worked out in my closets relationships. Intentionally focusing on my relationship with Christ is the best thing I can do to make sure that my other relationships are growing and moving in the right direction.
    My recent post This isn’t Victory Yet! A Call for Reconciliation in Ukraine

    • Kari Scare Says:

      Good point, Caleb. The strength of our core relationships has a significant impact on all of our other relationships. And we must make working on them a priority.

  8. Mark Allman Says:

    You know Kari….. once someone gets to know us they rarely see us with their eyes… we become known to them through their heart and they perceive us that way going forward I believe. I am sure if you asked a dozen people who know me if I have a beard or not they all would not get it…. and most would not be sure even though I have had it over 25 years. The package is forgotten about when it's whats inside that really makes the impact. So we need to consider what our souls look like to others. What do we need to dress up and to take off.

    • Kari Scare Says:

      Terrific point, Mark! I have noticed this to be true time and time again. I have met people who I thought attractive at first and who became less so the more I go to know them. The reverse is also true. I've ben people who weren't physically attractive to me but who become more so the more I get to know them. In other words, who we are on the inside determines out true beauty, and it affects how we look physically too. Funny thing about the beard… I had a friend who shaved his and when asked if anyone noticed, I honestly said, "He had a beard?" I could not remember it for the life of me.

  9. Loren Pinilis Says:

    Our heart is the source of our actions and our words, so it makes sense that paying attention to how we "dress" this side of us affects everything else. Convicting to think about the importance I place upon that.
    My recent post The Most Powerful (But Forgotten) Source of Christian Motivation

  10. danonleadership Says:

    Hello Kari,

    We are called to represent God through our life, putting on the spiritual clothing (the fruits of the spirit) and proper/appropriate outward clothing is so essential when it comes to representing God in a good way. Does that make sense?

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