Toyota has a hilarious series of “swagger wagon” commercials that in their words feature “two self-absorbed parents and the only vehicle that matches their awesomeness.” The entire series is done tongue-in-cheek, but captures a real attitude in our world today. While the commercials are funny, what is not so funny is our tendency toward a self-absorbed “look-at-me” attitude.
I remember when I first got my current car (which I have now nick-named the swagger sedan). When I first drove it, I had a bit of a swagger attitude. For some it might be a new set of clothes, the newest gadget, or some accomplishment that brings out the swagger attitude. What is certain is that my swagger sedan after several years no longer has a swagger affect, and if we take an honest look at ourselves, we are not as awesome as we sometimes think.
The Bible calls us to humility. Humility is not an “I am scum” attitude. Humility is seeing ourselves rightly. We are made in God’s image and so of great value. But we are also sinners, rebels against God. We are broken, not what we were made to be. We are far short of awesome.
At the same time, humility calls us to look at ourselves in comparison to God. God is awesome – the only one who deserves this adjective. In comparison to him, we are small. No one can honestly swagger in front of God. Rather humility calls us to exalt the one who is truly awesome.
Though we are small compared to God and rebels against God, God still loves us. He came to earth and actually became one of us. He died on a cross to pay for our sins. He rose from the dead to remake us into the people we were made to be. This too humbles us. He did this not because we are awesome, but because he is. Not because we are great, but because he is.
At the same time, God’s love lifts us up. Though we are broken and small, he loves us. In him our sins are forgiven and we can be who he made us to be. We can have a relationship with him. We can spend all of eternity with him. But this should not lead us to swagger. We don’t deserve any of this. Instead we ought to praise him for all that he has done for us.
I will continue to enjoy these commercials. But they also now serve as a reminder to me of the folly of self-absorbed pride and swagger, a reminder to get off the swagger bandwagon, and humbly praise the one who is truly awesome.