The Holy Spirit works in our hearts, in the hearts of others and in the events of our lives to point us in the right direction. He uses all these to cause us to hear and heed his voice.
As we seek God and acknowledge him, he promises to direct our paths (Prov 3:5-6)and often does so by bombarding us with a thought that will not cease to permeate our thoughts and hearts.
Each believer must determine what God would have them do personally. Th Holy spirit knows your stage of spiritual development and will direct you accordingly. As God leads us in our journey toward him, we each follow different paths. The Holy Spirit draws us individual maps to follow. Others may not choose our road and they shouldn't if it is not part of their map. We should not challenge them regarding their chosen route unless its an issue of spiritual principle. Remember Gods leading will never lead you to sin.
I know the Lord is speaking to me when what I think he saying is driven home by scripture. Anything Gods Spirit reveals to you will always match up with what is in the bible because all scripture was given by the Holy Spirit. He will never contradict himself - no exceptions.
We need to change our thoughts about the Bible. It is not just an old book of theology for us to digest; it is the living word of God. When we read it, the Holy Spirit applies it to our particular situation regardless of how specific and personal it is. The Holy Spirit orchestrates this. He speaks.
I know God is speaking to me when in spite of my initial struggle, an undeniable release and peace follows when I have obeyed his voice.
Gods peace serves as a mechanism by which we can discern his voice.
Gods personal word to you will be accompanied by a sense of assurance and peace. When you sense Gods leading ask yourself " Do I feel confident and peaceful about moving forward or am I restless and unsure about the directions I have received."
You may feel ill equipped to handle many things God calls you to do, but when you sense his peace, he is encouraging you to step out in obedience. When you obey, you will experience his supernatural power operating through you to do it.
When God speaks he does so with power and authority. When he speaks things change. Gods voice has the power to accomplish what we need. One way to distinguish Gods voice from others is the effect it has on our circumstances. When Jesus calmed the waters the response was immediate.
Nothing pleases God more than when we ask for what he wants to give. Think about it, when you seek to hear God, do you really desire to hear what his purposes are or do you desire to pursue your own and hope for his blessing. God wants us to recognise and trust that his plans are best.
To conclude I shall quote from Jim Cymbala:
"Two important prerequisites to hearing God clearly are to have an open vertical relationship with him and to be submitted to his plan for our lives. If there is unconfessed sin or continual disobedience in our lives, there will be a closed heaven above us and a disruption in hearing from the Lord. God cannot draw near to us while we are walking away from him through disobedience at the same time"
and from the Prophet Isiah:
"The sovereign Lord has spoken to me, and I have listened. I do not rebel or turn away.....Therefore i have set my face like a stone determined to do his will. And I know that I will triumph" Isiah 50: 5,7)
Other related scripture to note:
Psalm 95: 7-8
John 16:14John 16:33