“For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted” (v11). Jesus lived and preached this message, which goes against human nature. We constantly promote ourselves and grasp at achievements, because we fear being ignored, or being left behind, or missing out on good things. But Jesus said that we can only be his disciples if we renounce what we have (v33) and follow Him.
Those who think they can “gain the world” on their own do not see the value of Jesus’ invitation (v18). But when we recognize that our own efforts have failed, that we are “poor, blind, lame,” (v21), then we eagerly accept His free gift.