Dressing For Success (1 Samuel 16:7)

During my medical residency training, a senior colleague, whom I greatly respected, was dismayed over my choice of clothes. “You don’t dress like a professional”, he bemoaned.  A snappy dresser, one day, he pulled me aside and thrust a book into my hands. “You need to read this!” This book was allegedly used by numerous executives from America’s top companies, to educate them to dress properly. It was a trove of examples of business appropriate attire, casual attire, techniques to mix and match colors and patterns, proper use of accessories…anything that would place the upwardly mobile man on the path to success.


I naively accepted my colleague’s gift and the book’s advice and transformed my wardrobe accordingly. I did receive some positive feedback, certainly from my colleague who set me on this track. A few months later, I reviewed my closet filled with new neckties, dress shirts and pants, and suits, and I reflected upon the changes in my life. My bank account was depleted. I spent more time concerned about my appearance than my attitude or my progress as a resident. I was even critical of other colleague’s attire, assuming they, too, needed to be enlightened on how to dress properly.


But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not look on his appearance or on the height of his stature, because I have rejected him. For the Lord sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart.”

1 Samuel 16:7 (ESV)


I was dressing, but not for success, only to impress. What began as a laudable excursion was descending into a deplorable shipwreck. I was obsessed with improving my appearance but not improving my character. It was only by confessing and repenting of my sins to Jesus Christ did the Holy Spirit guide me in recognizing the arrogance and haughty attitude that I had so casually and easily embraced. God had to transform the ugliness of my heart to recognize my outward appearance would never improve until I allowed Him to change my inward attitude.


It was a humbling lesson and one that I am pleased that God taught me.


Love and trust the Lord; seek His will in your life.

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