I return to the disciples, where this week’s lessons began. In the closing days of Christ’s earthly life, he was attempting to prepare them for his departure and instruct them in what they would need to know to function as his disciples after he was gone. They were arguing among themselves about who should be greatest. The reason is that they were thinking of themselves, rather than about him. He was about to make that sacrifice around which the meaning of all reality revolves. The uplifted cross was to be the focal point of history. But the disciples? They were not thinking of that. They were thinking about Christ’s earthly kingdom, and they were jockeying for the most prominent places in it.

Another burden of pride is self-struggle. A fourth burden we are delivered from if we walk in humility is struggle, struggle somehow to "make it" or "gain recognition" in this world. You will understand, I am sure, that I am not encouraging a lazy spirit or an indifferent attitude in Christ’s service. In his service there is always need for hard work, diligence, willingness to suffer, and great perseverance. But that is a different thing from the kind of struggle for self-advancement that flows from pride.

Humility also removes the burden of pretense. The second burden of pride Tozer writes about is the burden of pretense - of pretending to be something we are not and of hiding what we truly are. The man who is moderately successful in business tries to look wildly successful. He is ashamed to be thought of as only a moderate achiever. A person of limited education pretends to be more highly educated than he is and fears to meet a thoroughly educated man. Even if he is well educated, he fears to meet a person who is better educated or to be in a position where the unfavorable comparison shows.

Jesus' teaching on humility was an intensification of his earlier teaching. Earlier he had been speaking of relative positions within his kingdom - the first would be last and the last first. Now he was teaching that without humility it was not possible even to enter his kingdom.

Brother Lawrence, whose collected conversations and letters are entitled The Practice of the Presence of God, lived in the seventeenth century. He was born Nicholas Herman in French Lorraine, served as a soldier, and then was converted through seeing a tree in winter stripped of its leaves, and reflecting on the fact that within a short time its leaves would be renewed through the love, providence, and power of God. His conversion led him to enter the monastery of the barefooted Carmelites at Paris in 1666.