Becoming and then being a Christian starts in the individual person’s heart. There is faith in Christ, the decision to follow Him (repentance) and the submitting to baptism into Christ. What follows is a growing into the image of Jesus, a “putting off” of the old person of sin and a “putting on” of the new person created in righteousness.
This new creation begins in the inner person (mind, heart, soul) where knowledge, perceptions, attitudes, desires, etc. all become informed by the word of God, and the individual becomes a Spirit-led person. This inner change is reflected, necessarily, in the words and deeds of the new Christian. The change of heart produces a change in lifestyle. A good husband becomes a better husband. A selfish husband becomes a loving husband. A good wife becomes a better wife. A contentious wife becomes a husband-respecting wife. A lazy person becomes industrious. A thief takes a job: A liar tells the truth. A blame-shifter accepts responsibility. A greedy person becomes a giver. An inward-focused person turns outward. Skills and talents are put into service for the Lord.
Tabitha is a great example of this. Scripture says she was a “disciple” who “was abounding with deeds of kindness and charity which she continually did.” We are told that those deeds involved the making of garments of various kinds for those in need. She had made such a great impact upon those in Joppa that when she died the disciples sent to Lydda, where Peter was staying, with the apparent hope that through him God would bring her back to life. Peter came, and God answered Peter’s prayer to give life to her again.
Tabitha had become a real disciple of Jesus, employing her gifts for the good of all. And note this well. This was not some organized ministry of the church. This was a Christian woman changed by Christ. She wasn’t waiting for someone to plan some kind of group effort. Her heart was such that she saw needs and did what she could to take care of them. She was truly a disciple.