We live in a day when so many Christians preface every statement they make with, “The Lord told me”. How are we supposed to deal with this? Well, first and foremost what they say must be judged according to the Bible and cannot violate the Word or Character of God.
It does not matter how religious the people look or how sincere they talk or cry when they speak about God. It does not matter how good they may make you feel or how good the word they give makes you feel. It doesn’t matter if they have thousands of people lapping up their every word. It doesn’t even matter if you feel "convicted" by their words. God never contradicts His Holy Word or His Holy Character. Everything you experience and learn in this life should be filtered with the Bible. I actually had a leader in the church say one time, “You might as well close that Bible, I don’t want to hear it, I know what I believe”. How dangerous is this?
Now, with that said, there are some awesome preachers and teachers out there that God speaks through in a clear prophetic way. Even though this is not always the case, when someone goes to a church service, fellowship, or house church meeting it is assumed that they are pursuing God. We also assume that God will reward those who are seeking Him by using His servants to help know God and experience God.
There is a saying I picked up somewhere in my ministry years that has served me well. It goes like this. “Not everyone who walks in your doors is sent by God, is seeking God, and love you. Not everyone who walks out your doors is backslidden or angry with you.”
If you are listening to someone and you feel convicted by what they are saying and if what is being said agrees with the Word of God and the Character of God, then you can be confident that it is God speaking to you through that person. A feeling of conviction from the Holy Spirit is a strong "Wow, that is really true”, feeling. So the conviction test is one that leads us to repentance and reconciliation. If the conviction leads us to judgment and condemnation then it is most likely from the accuser of the brethren.
Another way to judge a word spoken to you by someone is what I call the “glory” test. Not only must the word not contradict the Word or Character of God, but it must give glory to the Father. I have had to many words spoken over me that exalted me, exalted worldly success, or exalted the person speaking. God warns us many times in Scriptures about flattery and giving glory to the flesh.