"But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asks you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear" (1 Peter 3:15).
A friend once related how she didn't like her husband giving out tracts that she thought had a hidden agenda. The tracts were about the things of God, but they didn't look as though they were. Her contention was that it was deceitful. She said that he should be upfront and just say "I want to talk to you about God."
Shortly afterward, she admitted that the truth was that she was embarrassed when her husband was giving the tracts out, and said that she realized that her fears were spiritual in origin.
What may seem like deceit to some, is in truth “discretion.” When Jesus spoke to the woman at the well, He didn't say, "I want to talk to you about God. You are living in adultery." That was His agenda, but such an abrupt approach may have meant a closed door. Instead, Jesus spoke to her about water, something she could relate to, and then He gently swung to the subject of the things of God.
The result was that the woman became a believer in Jesus, and she immediately gave her testimony to the unsaved in her village. She simply said, "Come, see a man, which told me all things that I ever did: is not this the Christ?" (John 4:29). We are called to say the same thing. God is omniscient. He sees everything we do. Nothing is hid from His holy eyes. He hears every word, and He demands an account of every idle word we speak. This holy Judge of the Universe has set aside a Day in which He will judge the world in righteousness. Then we are to point to Jesus Christ, as the woman did.
It is wise to have our testimony on hand in our mind. We should know the reason we became Christians, and how we were converted. It is important that we learn how to share our testimony in a way that is effective. Our salvation centers on the Cross, so that's where we should be heading. The Cross was the evidence that displayed God's love for humanity. It is the essence of the gospel.
Three times in Scripture, Paul gave his testimony. That speaks for itself. You may not have had a Road to Damascus experience, but you have experienced the One Paul experienced on the road. You were on the Road of Sin. You saw the light. God opened your blinded eyes. You came to know Him whom to know is life eternal. You had a Road to the Cross experience.
Why do we need to be able to share the experience of being converted? Because (as it's been well-said), the man with an experience is not at the mercy of a man with an argument. A skeptic may disagree with what we say, but he cannot truly deny the experience of another person. The Christian knows the Lord.
The question that may come to mind is "How do I know that I know the Lord?" The answer is in God's Word. It says, hereby we know that we know Him, if we keep his commandments (1 John 2:3). That's the backbone of our testimony. God gives us a new heart with new desires. We are made new creatures in Christ. We have been born again. We had no interest in the things of God, now we love Him and yearn to please Him. We want to keep His commandments.
Sadly, many modern converts miss the evangelistic target when they share their testimony. They say things like "I was into drugs, etc., but Jesus filled my heart with joy" etc. Rather, structure your testimony to preach sin, righteousness and judgment.
Here's a suggested testimony composition:
Learn how to include the spiritual nature of the Ten Commandments in your testimony ("I never understood what sin was, until I looked at the Ten Commandments…").
Stress that nothing is hidden from God - that He even sees the thought-life.
Stress the reality of the Day of Judgment.
Preach the Cross, repentance, and faith ("Then I understood why He died. He was bruised for my iniquities, etc.).
Emphasize that you weren't “converted by the Bible.” Early Christians didn't have a Bible. The New Testament wasn't compiled. Most couldn't read. There was no such thing as the printing press. They were instead converted by the power of the gospel. Underscore the fact that you now know that the Bible is true because when you obeyed the gospel you were transformed—taken from darkness into light—born again - a new creature with a new heart and new desires… then the Bible came alive because you now have the Holy Spirit, who leads you into all truth.