The largest known lobster ever caught was 3.5 feet long, weighed over 44 pounds, and was estimated to be over 100 years old. How does a lobster get that big? Lobsters continue to grow throughout their lives through ecdysis, a process more commonly known as shedding or molting. A lobster has a hard shell that does not grow so, in order for growth to take place, the lobster must shed its shell. When the lobster has removed itself from the shell, it is then able to grow and produce a new shell. Basically, for a lobster, growth requires removing the old so that the new can be put on.
When we make a decision to follow Christ and make Him the Lord of our lives, our lives are changed. As we begin to walk with Christ, we also begin a life of spiritual growth, a growth that should continue throughout our lives. Just as the lobster sheds its shell, a believer must shed the old self, our old way of life that is corrupted by sinful desires (Ephesians 4:22). We must shed things such as anger, wrath, malice, slander, and obscene talk (Colossians 3:8). It is only when we shed the old self that we can begin to grow in Christ, becoming more like Him so that we can then put on the new self, which is in His image (Colossians 3:10).
As we shed the old self and walk with Christ, there are several areas in which we should begin to grow. We need to grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ (2 Peter 3:18), recognizing that it is only by the grace of God through Jesus that we are saved. As we grow in grace and knowledge, we must also grow in love. Just as God loves us, a love He showed through the sacrifice of His Son, so we must grow in love for one another (1 Thessalonians 3:12). We must also grow in understanding, becoming mature in our thinking while remaining like children when it comes to evil (1 Corinthians 14:20). Our minds need to be transformed so that we can discern God’s perfect will for our lives (Romans 12:2).
Our God is holy. When we shed the old self, we must also grow in holiness. As believers, God calls us to a life of holiness, living righteously in obedience to His will and His Word. (1 Peter 1:15-16). Fruitfulness is another area in which we should grow as we walk with Christ. In the parable of the sower, Jesus said that the seed that fell on good soil is the seed that bears fruit. The seed is the Word of God and, as believers, we should be like that good soil so that His Word in us will enable us to be fruitful, bringing the Gospel to others so that they may also come to know His saving grace (Matthew 13:23).
Finally, we must grow in contentment, learning to be content in whatever circumstances we find ourselves. We must learn to be as content in times of need as in times of plenty (Philippians 4:11-12). In good times and in bad, our contentment should come from the knowledge that God is in control, He is faithful, and His love for us will never end. Throughout our lives, we need to be sure that we continue to shed the old self, enabling us to grow in grace, in faith, in love, in understanding, in holiness, in fruitfulness, and in contentment. When we shed the old self and put on the new, true spiritual growth will be the result.