“Always be ready to give a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you.However, do this with gentleness and respect, keeping your conscience clear, so that when you are accused, those who denounce your Christian life will be put to shame.”
(1 Peter 3:15–16 HCSB)

Peter sets an awfully high bar for Christian conduct here and even seems to think that believers should be able to cross the bar!  He implies that our conduct has a bearing on our sharing of the hope that is in us.  We often forget this in our haste to both live as we want to and tell people about Jesus.

We are to always be ready to share “the reason for the hope” that is in us.  We are to do this with gentleness and respect, implying that we speak the truth, but in such a way that the people who hear it feel respected.  Again, this is a high bar because it requires us to enter into the other person’s shoes and ask ourselves, “how are they hearing me?  Am I being bombastic and confrontational, or am I respecting them as humans and fellow sinners?”

Careful conduct leads to a clear conscience which demonstrates that we are clearly Christian.