This is my summary, hopefully this can give us the idea of how to recognize God's voice.. for the complete teaching from Purpose Driven Connection just click this "How to Recognize God's Voice"
How do I know it’s not my own desire or even a lie from Satan?
The answer is clear in 1 John 4:1 – I must test it to find out.
“Don’t believe everything you hear just because someone says it is a message from God; test it first to see if it really is!” 1 John 4:1 (LB)
According to Rick Warren there are 7 (seven) tests form a filter for recognizing God’s voice and we need to make sure that the idea we are testing passed all the seven of them.
- Does it agree with the Bible?
- Does it make me more like Christ?
- Are there other people who can confirm what I believe God is saying to me?
- Is it consistent with how God shaped me?
- Does it concern your responsibility?
- Is it convicting or is it condemning?
- Do I sense God’s peace about it?
It’s not just a matter of hearing God’s voice; it’s also a matter or responding. Hearing is not enough. You have to act as well.
The Bible says that God speaks to people who do three things. “Listen to this wise advice; follow it closely, for it will do you good, and you can pass it on to others” (Proverbs 22:17 LB).
God speaks to those who listen to what he says, follow it closely, and then pass it on to others.
Philippians 4:6-7 describes the attitude you should have when you listen to God’s voice. “Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. If you do this, you will experience God’s peace, which is far more wonderful than the human mind can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus” (NLT).
First Test - Does it agree with the Bible?
If you want to know God’s voice, the only book you need to read is the Bible. You need to memorize it, study it, and meditate on it.
For example, the Bible tells us to pay our taxes when it says “give back to Caesar what is Caesar’s” (Matthew 22:21 NIV). So if you feel God telling you not to pay your taxes this year, that thought isn’t from God. It would be a contradiction of his Word.
Second Test - Does it make me more like Christ?
God is never going to tell you something in your mind that would cause you to do something that’s un-Christlike. If it is not like Jesus, you didn’t get the idea from God.
- Is it pure? If any thought is impure, God didn’t give it to you.
- Is it peace-loving? If the idea is from God, it will promote harmony and reconciliation, not conflict.
- Is it considerate? Any idea that would hurt or harm someone, even though it may benefit you, is not from God because he cares about the effect it might have on others.
- Is it submissive? If you get an idea from God, you must be open to having it tested by other people, asking them what they think about it. If you are hesitant and don’t feel like letting other people test the idea, then it didn’t come from God because it isn’t leading you to submit to others’ feedback.
- Is it full of mercy? An impression from God will make you more gracious and forgiving. It won’t make you judgmental or critical.
- Is it impartial and sincere? When you get an idea that’s from God, you don’t use it to manipulate people to get your own way.
Third Test - Are there other people who can confirm what I believe God is saying to me?
So when it comes to hearing God’s voice, you need to listen to the people around you. You need a church family and a small group to confirm whether what you sense God directing you to do is true or not.
If God has genuinely spoken to you, he will confirm it through other mature believers. Advice from other mature believers can save you time wasted doing the wrong thing.
Forth Test - Is it consistent with how God shaped me?
Spiritual gifts, Heart, Abilities, Personality and Experiences. These five things make you unique from everyone else in the world. They also reveal your purpose in life.
A lot of people ignore their SHAPE and end up wasting millions of dollars going after pipe dreams, starting businesses and making plans they weren’t shaped to do. God will never lead you a way that is inconsistent with your SHAPE.
If you have a musical ability, you should use it. But if you’re tone deaf and can’t carry a tune, you shouldn’t try out for American Idol.
Fifth Test - Does it concern your responsibility?
If something is not your responsibility, why should God talk to you about it? Wouldn’t he just talk directly to the person it concerns?
Now, does God ever speak to others through another person? Of course he does. But there are three guidelines you need to follow if feel God is using you to speak to someone else.
- Be patient and pray. Give God a chance to speak to that person directly.
- God will typically use you to confirm in someone else’s life what he’s already told them. So when you share your words with someone it won’t be a big surprise if it’s really from God.
God will usually use you without you being conscious of it. If God is going to speak through you to others, he will often do it in a way that you don’t even realize it was God speaking through you. But the person on the receiving end will recognize its truth.
Sixth Test - Is it convicting or is it condemning?
A lot of Christians live under condemnation, or constant guilt, and they think it is from God. It isn’t. Condemnation comes from Satan. But conviction comes from God.
Here’s the difference between the two: The purpose of conviction is to correct you on a specific issue in order to bring a change in your life, and it is motivated by God’s love. Because God loves you, when he sees an area in your life that needs change – a relationship, a habit, an attitude – he will nudge you and say, “You need to work on this thing that’s out of whack in your life.”
The purpose of condemnation is to criticize and make you feel guilty, usually in a vague way. If you’ve ever felt guilty but you couldn’t point to anything specific, or if you’ve ever had a feeling of worthlessness, that is condemnation from Satan.
Seven Test - Do I sense God’s peace about it?
If you think you’ve heard from God, it measures up to God’s Word, you’ve gotten advice from other people and passed the other tests, but you still feel confused or anxious, then it doesn’t pass the seventh test.
Why? “God is not the author of confusion” (1 Corinthians 14:33 NIV). So you wait and remain patient until you sense God’s peace.
God is a perfect father. Parents don’t want their kids to feel worried or pressured when they ask them to do something. No, they want their children to feel encouraged. That’s the same way God wants to relate to you. He doesn’t want you to feel anxiety in anything he asks you to do.