A while ago I was studying the Beatitudes in Matthew Ch 5 and it occurred to me that there was a clear process on becoming a Christian. In order to help you remember the process I call it the "Four B's."
All the stages are necessary and you must go through them in process. The steps and order to the process is as follows.
1. You must have faith - belief
2. You must act like a Christian - behaviour
3. You become a Christian - becoming
4. You receive the reward - blessing
In order to recall and remember this process I called it the "Four B's," that is, belief, behaviour, becoming and blessing. The first step is to have faith, which is to believe. The second step is about action, which is your behaviour. The third step occurs when your behaviour turns into habit and you become a Christian, and the fourth step is your reward, which is the blessing. So in brief the Four B's are:
Belief ---> Behaviour ---> Becoming ---> Blessing
Let's look at this a little more closely.
You will recall from the Bible that we all must have faith. The very first stage of becoming a Christian is that we must believe there is a God and that he rewards those who have faith. Paul writes that, "The righteous shall live by faith." and the writer of Hebrews tells us that, "...without faith it is impossible to please God." Furthermore in Hebrews 6, faith towards God was one of the foundations identified on which the gospel is built. So faith, or as identified in the Four B's, Belief is the first step to become a Christian and is key to your ongoing walk with Christ.
The second step requires us to begin to behave like a Christian. Now I am sure you will agree that there are times when you don't "feel" like being a Christian. However the nature of your call to Christ is to get above your human passions and feelings so that you do what is right. Paul entreats us to "imitate him" and also to "imitate God" so that we can be like God. The act of imitation is all about behaviour. You change your behaviour to do what is right even though you don't feel like it.
The point of imitating what is right is so that you can learn right behaviours. It has been stated somewhere that behaviour repeated for around thirty days becomes a habit. The reason we imitate good behaviours is so that they will become habits. Good new habits to replace the old bad ones.
This brings us to the third step. Once the habits become our normal way of behaviour we become Christians, not through trying to act in a certain way, but through being that way. We have become a Christian. If you read the beatitudes you can see that the focus of these is on the final two steps in the process. They speak of the person you have become in Christ and then follow with the reward you receive. For example, "Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy," or "Blessed are the meek for they shall inherit the earth." You can see in each of these that they tell you what you must become (ie. Merciful and meek), to receive the rewards (mercy or inheritance of the earth).
And of course the final step is when you receive the blessing. As in the paragraph above, the reward is received after you have become the Christian that you aspire to, act like and become.
Now the length of time for these stages to occur may be quite short or long. Consider the thief on the cross who was crucified with Christ. He had very limited time, but these steps are still evident even in his case. You see in the bible that while Christ was on the cross one of the criminals despised him and railed at him. But the other criminal responded saying that they deserved their punishment but Christ had done nothing wrong.
It is clear that the criminal believed in the Lord recognising him as the Christ. This was the first step. It is also evident that he was repentant as he recognised his own sin in stating that he deserved his punishment. This repentant behaviour is the second step. He had little time to complete and become a Christian, but as stated by Paul, he was accepted for what he had, not what he did not have. To the extent that he believed and behaved in a repentant manner he achieved the third step and became a Christian, albeit at a very early stage. As a result of his confession, Christ indicated his reward, that, "This day you will be with me in Paradise."
These four steps, the Four B's, may assist you in understanding the process of becoming a Christian. Needless to say there is much more, but this may provide some basic insight.
I hope that you found something here to help you or add to your own knowledge. If you have any questions, then please feel free to contact me.