He told us that he had felt the Lord "tug" at his heart before, but never like this time. It was clear that he was under conviction of his sin and his need for Christ.
Whenever we witness to someone, we have an ally in the Holy Spirit. The third person of the Trinity is actively pointing people to Christ through our words. Jesus said of the Spirit, "He will glorify me, for he will take what is mine and declare it to you." John 16:14 ESV
One of the main jobs of the Holy Spirit is to convict people of sin. Jesus said, "...he will convict the world concerning sin and righteousness and judgment:" John 16:8 ESV
I believe that the majority of people that you talk to are inwardly aware of their sinful nature. They may try to hide their sins, suppress their guilt, or excuse their actions as imperfection, but deep down inside, they know that they have done wrong. The Holy Spirit quickens their conscience when they are reminded of their sins and reawakens that sense of guilt.
I talked to a man this weekend who was under deep conviction. He was walking down the sidewalk by Moore Square when he noticed me sharing the Bible with someone else. He stopped, came back, and asked for prayer.
He admitted to me that he was addicted to cocaine (for 9 years) and was tired of being in bondage. As we talked, he told me that even going to church and trying to do the right thing made him feel even more condemned. The only question is... was his conscience quickened enough to lead him to repent and trust Christ. That is yet to be seen.
Whenever you share the gospel with someone....
- Pray - for the Spirit to convict the person you are witnessing to.
- Use Scripture - The Spirit will use the Word of God to bring conviction. (Particularly the law - See Romans 7:7)
- Listen - Allow the Holy Spirit to guide your words as you witness.
- Trust - Let the Holy Spirit do His job. Don't get discouraged if you don't see evidence of conviction. You can't see what is happening in the person's heart.