In the fifth dimension of conversion (commitment), a person makes it clear that she or he is now committed to a relationship with Jesus. Conversion theorists say they are three “manifestations” of commitment: decision, surrender, and witness.
We need to keep commitment all wrapped up in a relational mode instead of wandering into a judicial mode, however important the latter is, if we want to see its full-orbed nature. The decision is a decision to “be with Christ,” and the “surrender” is to Jesus Christ, and the witness is to what Jesus Christ has done.
One observation about witness that is perhaps one of the clearest indicators there can be of conversion. The witness involves re-telling one’s autobiography in a new way that sorts it all out in relationship to Jesus Christ.
A convert now tells his or her story in light of a new relationship, the way a young person in love now tells his or her own story in light of that relationship. One thinks here of those who are converted who are driven to tell their story. Whatever you think of them, here is a list of some who quickly had to tell their story: Augustine, John Henry Newman, Charles Spurgeon, Leo Tolstoy, CS Lewis, Malcolm Muggeridge.
Of more recent vintage: Nancy Mairs, Anne Lamott, Roberta Bondi, Mortimer Adler, Charles Colson, Robert Benson.
Think about it: identity is shaped as we tell ourselves our own story to make sense of our own lives, and converts do the same. A revised autobiography as witness is perhaps the clearest indicator of conversion.
Tell me your story, we ask, and what we hear will give us the best indication of conversion.