There is a difference between a believer in Jesus and a disciple of Jesus. By definition the word disciple means 'learner' or 'student'. Not everyone who believes in Jesus is a disciple of Jesus.
Disciple:"Someone who believes in the ideas of someone AND tries to live the way that person does or did." Cambridge Dictionary. (emphasis mine)
A believer simply believes but isn't necessarily trying to live as Jesus commanded. All Christians start as believers and in the best case, we all become disciples. But in today's culture, some 'believers' embrace sins as a lifestyle, to the point their thinking and emotions are off-balance. Their idea of Jesus is that He accepts all because He loves everyone.
To paraphrase Jude v4, they have turned the grace of God into a license for sin. That is wrong thinking. It can lead to emotional illness, to twist the very character of Christ into one who licenses their sin. In fact, the grace of God empowers us to live holy and godly lives, but some turn it into a license for sin.
James 1:22 urges us to be doers of the Word and not just hearers only, for one who hears only but doesn't do, is self-deceived. That's what we see all around us today for 'believers' who aren't actually disciples.
We are told in the Great Commission to make disciples, not believers. "Teaching them to observe and to do all things I commanded you." A disciple will eventually get rid of wrong thinking and feeling as they grow in Christ, in exchange for right thinking and feeling.
Identity crisis; Gender or temperament?
God has a plan and purpose for every person ever born. He made us male or female. There is now great confusion in society over gender and temperament. A male may be in temperament more feminine, but he is still a man. A female may be in temperament more masculine, but she is still a woman. Popular culture confuses temperament with gender, and some Christians do too.
Popular culture would say 'I was born this gender, but I identify as the other gender.' That is confusion of temperament. It is confusion in thinking and in feelings. Feeling or thinking a certain way emotionally doesn't change gender. You may identity as a butterfly, but you weren't born a butterfly. Also, I'm not obligated to participate in your emotional or mental condition. Yet in today's society that kind of thinking is pushed in nearly every form of media.
In this day and age of the Internet and instant global information
People who identify as butterflies can find each other through the Internet. Group identity takes over individual identity. By identifying with a particular group of similarly confused people, it gives credibility to and supports the confusion to the extent they don't know they are confused. They believe a lie that the rest of society is confused about them. They all identify as butterflies therefore their feelings must be valid. So they seek validation from the rest of society.
They have lost their personal identification, which is absorbed by the larger group identity. It becomes mob mentality, a tribe at war with anyone who doesn't agree with their confusion. Emotional reasoning takes over:I feel this way therefore I am.
Even believers, not disciples, but believers get wrong thoughts and feelings, not realizing they can control their thoughts and feelings, and find God's plan for their temperament. Satan tries to confuse people's identities as early in life as possible.
Satan did that to Eve:"If you eat you will be like God..." The Lord made them one way, but Satan offered a different identity. Satan tries to prevent people from knowing God's plan, purpose, and grace for their life by confusing their thinking. If he can confuse them, even as children, by getting them to think they should have been born a butterfly, he can keep them from learning the Father's purpose and plan for them.
In Christ, individual identity comes first, then group.
Individually we decide for Christ, and individually we stand before Him to give account. When we sin, we admit it to Him - that is individual accountability. Everything else flows from that truth, that we individually stand before Him to give account.
After individually identifying with Christ, we identify with a group of similar people called Christians. This is healthy.
We see in Acts 11:26, where after Paul and Barnabas had met for a year with the same group of people in Antioch, teaching them of Jesus, that group became known as Christians. This should be a healthy network of relationships which bring a person further into maturity in Christ.
Human nature doesn't want to stand before anyone to give account. Right from the start Adam blamed Eve; "The woman which you gave me did it...." (Genesis 3:12) It is human nature to avoid accountability because that requires taking responsibility for our actions and consequences.
If one goes far enough away from a sense of accountability to God, then to our fellow man, they think they are only accountable to their mob, their tribe. They think they are only accountable to their group who identify as butterflies.
Notice the struggle for a personal identity
Much of Paul's writings address identity confusion. In I Corinthians 6:9-10 Paul lists sins common in the culture of Greece and Rome, including "Neither....fornicators, adulterers, the effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind...will enter the kingdom of heaven."
In the very next verse, v11, he continues:"And such were some of you. But now you are washed. now you are sanctified (set aside for God's use), now you are justified in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, with and through the Holy Spirit."
Such were some of you - who do you identify with? Your past, or your present? When a person 'accepts Jesus' or 'believes in Jesus' or 'makes a decision for Jesus', they are changing kingdom citizenship*. They are renouncing their citizenship in one kingdom, the kingdom of darkness, in order to be translated into the kingdom of the Father's Son. Water baptism is among other things, a declaration of identity. *Colossians 1:12-13
As the darkness gets darker, society will see increasing mental and emotional illness. The differences between healthy, functional Christians who are disciples of Jesus, and those who are not, will become increasingly clear.
Helping people regain healthy emotions and thoughts that will start to rearrange their lives, will become one of the main ways people come to the Lord. I will have some final thoughts next week on how to help someone regain balanced emotions and right thinking.
Until then, blessings,
http://www.cwowi.org and email me at firstname.lastname@example.org