1) Test the origin (1 John 4:1). Thoughts from our own minds are progressive, with one thought leading to the next. Thoughts from the spirit world are often more spontaneous. The Hebrew word for true prophecy is naba, which literally means "to bubble up," whereas false prophecy is ziyd, meaning "to boil up." True words from the Lord will bubble up from our innermost being; we don't need to make them up ourselves or help God speak.
2) Compare it to biblical principles. (2 Timothy 3:16) God will never say something to you personally that is contrary to His universal revelation as expressed in the Scriptures. If the Bible clearly states that something is a sin, a fresh word of God will not contradict that. A healthy understanding of biblical principles is important.3) Compare it to the names and character of God as revealed in the Bible. Anything God says to you will be in harmony with His nature. It is always the goal to know God personally. Knowing what the Bible says about Him will help you discern what words are from Him. Make sure that what you share from God lines up with the character of God as described in the Names of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. (Recommended reading: 365 Names of God, John Paul Jackson)
4) Test the fruit (Matt. 7:15-20). What effect does what you are and sharing have on your soul and your spirit? Words from the Lord will quicken your faith and increase your love, peace and joy. They will stimulate a sense of humility within you as you become more aware of who God is and who you are. On the other hand, any words you receive that elicit fear or doubt, that bring you into confusion or anxiety do not line up with the fruit of God’s Spirit.
5) Share it with your spiritual mentors (Prov. 11:14). We are members of the body of Christ. We weren't designed or called to walk alone. Nothing will increase your faith in your ability to hear from God like having it confirmed by two or three other people! Share what you've heard with someone who knows the Lord, loves you, has a solid biblical orientation and, most important, they must also lovingly and easily tell you the truth.