I am overjoyed at hearing about friends who have been receiving clear direction from the Lord lately. There is a clear distinction between His voice, when we just KNOW it’s Him, and the ‘confirmation’ and ‘peace about it’ that we produce for ourselves through rationalization and reasoning—when we consult other people or search the Scriptures looking for self-justification in our corrupt situation rather than seeking the Holy Spirit’s illumination directly into our souls. You can survey your friends and find ones who will take your side, and you can find promises in Scripture to help you feel better as you fight to have your own way, even though they are conditional on certain aspects of surrender which you are not meeting. But when we are honest, and in communion with the Holy Spirit, he won’t let us deceive ourselves. This voice is truth. And we can hear it for ourselves.
…there is, if I may put it in this way, a secret instinct in faith, whereby it knows the voice of Christ when He truly speaks. As the babe leaped in the womb when [Mary] came to Elisabeth, faith leaps in the heart when Christ indeed draws near. ‘My sheep’, said Christ, ‘hear my voice’ (John 10:27). ‘They know My voice; they are used to the sound of it.’ They know when His lips are opened to them and are full of grace.
In the Song of Solomon (5:2), the bride knows the voice of her beloved. As soon as he speaks she cries, ‘It is the voice of my beloved!’ She knew his voice and was so accustomed to communion with him that she instantly recognzied him. So will you know the voice of Christ. If you exercise yourselves to know and have fellowship with Him, you will easily discern between His voice and the voice of a stranger.
Note this: When he speaks, he speaks as no man has ever spoken. He speaks with power. He will in one way or another make your heart burn within you (Luke 24). When He puts his hand to the latch (Song of Sol. 5:4), His Spirit will seize your heart!
Each one who has exercised himself to discern good and evil, and is increasing in judgment, experience, and observation to recognize Christ’s voice, and the operations of His Holy Spirit, is the best equipped to judge for himself when God is indeed speaking. (John Owen, The Mortification of Sin, Banner of Truth, 114)