There are basically three primary categories through which God speaks to his people: the Bible, the Holy Spirit in our hearts, and the circumstances in our lives. But each one of these categories is very in-depth and can be expressed in multiple ways.
Therefore, I’m going to give you four common signs for each of these three categories, totaling twelve signs that mean God is talking to you.
Category 1: The Bible
Sign 1: Biblical Commands
The clearest way to know God’s will for you is to know God’s word to you. All Scripture is breathed out by God and is profitable for teaching us God’s desire for our lives (2 Timothy 3:16-17). Whenever you see a command in the Bible, it’s the same thing as God speaking directly to you and telling you exactly what to do or not do.
Sign 2: Biblical Principles
Principles are slightly different than commands because commands apply to all of us in the same way at all times. Principles, however, need to be wisely applied to the person and variables present. Whenever you see a biblical principle in your life, this is like God giving you a light to shine on the dark paths you are walking (Psalm 119:105).
Sign 3: Biblical Examples
God has recorded the history of his relationship with his people. Not all of this history is meant to be followed. Sometimes God allowed a sinful story to be recorded in the Bible as an example of what not to do. At other times, God gives us stories of his saints as examples to follow. Either way, when you read about examples of what other people did in the Bible that relate to what you are going through, God will use this to tell you what to do as well (1 Corinthians 11:1, Ephesians 5:1).
Sign 4: Timely Biblical Passages
All of God’s commands, principles, and patterns in the Bible always apply to us. But when you read a passage of Scripture at just the right time that answers the exact question you had, this is a clear sign God is speaking to you (Proverbs 25:11-13).
Category 2: The Holy Spirit’s Leading in Your Heart
Sign 5: Internal Discernment About Others
Many of the questions we have in life revolve around other people. We want to know if someone would be good to date or marry. We want to know if someone would make a good business partner. And we want God’s insight to know if a spiritual leader is trustworthy and good to learn from.
Through the Spirit’s leading in your heart, God will often give you discernment as you biblically assess someone’s character. And sometimes a person will look trustworthy, but for some reason you will feel a warning in your heart not to trust them. This is often the Holy Spirit speaking to you (1 John 4:1, Hebrews 5:14, Philippians 1:9-10).
Sign 6: Conviction About Your Own Sin
God won’t always give you internal insight about someone else. Sometimes all we will have to go on is the visible and observable behavior we are witnessing by this person. But when it comes to our own selves, we can know when we are sinning internally.
When you have a conviction about sin that is causing you to repent, this is the Holy Spirit speaking to you (John 16:8, 2 Corinthians 7:9-10).
Sign 7: Biblical Revelation and Application
In Ephesians 1:17-18 Paul prayed “that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of him, having the eyes of your hearts enlightened, that you may know what is the hope to which he has called you . . .”
Wisdom is different than knowledge. Knowledge is knowing something. Wisdom is applying that knowledge to your life. When the Holy Spirit gives you a revelation through the Bible and then gives you wisdom on how to apply it to your life, this is God speaking to you.
Sign 8: Listening in Prayer
Those who hear the voice of God are those who consistently slow down long enough to hear what he is saying. Yes, God wants us to pour our hearts out to him, but he also wants us to listen to what he is saying.
As Jesus said, “My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me” (John 10:27).
Category 3: The Circumstances in Your Life
Sign 9: Open and Closed Doors
Because God is totally sovereign over all things, we also must accept that he speaks through what does or does not happen in our lives. For example, just because a relationship with someone would be biblical does not mean God wants you with this person. If this person rejects you, this closed door is God speaking and telling you he does not want you with this person.
Not every open door is from God, so you still need to ask him for wisdom. But if a door is open that leads down a biblical path, this is usually the Lord leading you (1 Corinthians 16:8-9, James 1:17).
Sign 10: Witnessing Other People’s Biblical and Unbiblical Behavior
God will tell you everything you need to know about someone through their actions. Anyone can proclaim Christ, but only a true Christian will follow Jesus (1 John 2:3-6, Galatians 5:22-24, 1 Corinthians 5:12-13)
Sign 11: Timely Occurrences that You Could Not Have Arranged Yourself
God won’t always do this type of thing. His word and leading in our prayer time are more than enough. But on occasion, God will allow something to happen in your life at just the right moment to make his will very clear to you.
Perhaps you will run into someone “randomly” (Ruth 2:3) in a place you never would have expected to see them, or perhaps you saw a sign advertising for the exact job position you were just praying about, or maybe everywhere you look God is sending you a consistent message confirming what you sensed he was saying.
Sign 12: Other People’s Biblical Counsel
While we should never let someone proclaim something over us or act like our mediator since only Jesus is our mediator, we should be humble enough to receive biblical counsel from other wise Christians.
God often uses his saints to help guide his other saints (Galatians 6:1, Proverbs 12:15)
Do you know how God will tell you who to marry? Here’s a three part video series to help you know how God will reveal the one to you.