Hi @Thegeobowman, I think this is a great question that you are asking, because I can across this same dilemma from a question, “How do we know this is God’s will?” But I shan’t deviate too much from the original question of, “How does God speak to us?”
Just a slight disclaimer that this is just based on my personal experience, as I believe that everyone’s walk with God is different. One thing I have learnt is that there is no formula with relationships (similarly to our relationship with God even), but I hope it helps open doors to areas of possibilities.
I do believe that there are multiple ways in which God communicates with us:
- through the Word (You may read certain passages / listen to certain sermons / worship songs, and something stands out, and you feel that it directly addresses the situation you are in.)
This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate in it day and night, that you may observe to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success. (Joshua 1:8)
- through the Holy Spirit (There will be times when you feel that logically, the decision makes sense, and you should go with it, but something just eats into you and you feel the lack of peace to go ahead with it.)
But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all things that I said to you. Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid. (John 14:26-27)
- through wise counsel (You can bounce off your thoughts with the people who have your best interest at heart, and they may advise something that is in line with what you are already thinking of doing. This is because they have the same Holy Spirit in them, therefore whatever they share should be to build on what you already have, rather than add something new.)
In 1 Kings 4, after King Solomon received wisdom, he surrounded himself with wise men. The first wise men mentioned was a priest actually, which may also be referred to as your spiritual leader.
I don’t think these “methods” are exhaustive, and it really is going to differ from individual to individual.
I was at Hillsong Conference 2014 (I think?) where Steven Furtick shared something very interesting about what happened before he started his ministry. He shared that at that point in time, He felt the Lord telling him to take his family, along with a few other families, and move to North Carolina to plant a church. He also added that he was at best 51% sure this was God’s instruction. There was still a strong 49% that the decision might be wrong.
However, fast forward, to today, Elevation Church is one of the larger churches with an average attendance of 25,000 weekly. Things would’ve been very different if he didn’t take the leap of faith to go ahead with it. And it definitely wasn’t an easy decision, especially when this involves more than just his family, but other families as well.
From my understanding, God will speak to us from the inside through the Holy Spirit, rather than outside. If it comes from the outside, there is a question of whether it is the Enemy or God.
Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. (1 Peter 5:8)
If it comes from the inside, then there is no question that it cannot be the Enemy trying to plant thoughts and speak to you half truths.
Lastly, I’d like to encourage you that if you are unsure, ask for more confirmation, just like Gideon. If God is the same yesterday, today, and forever, you can ask Him to give you more signs too. Our inability to hear God’s voice / instruction, is never bigger than God’s ability to speak to us.