I see at least four methods that God uses to leads us in his will. I put them in four “D’s” to help me remember them.
1) Decree: God sovereignly decrees and designs circumstances so that we end up where he wants us to be even if we don’t have any conscious part in getting there. For example, Paul and Silas found themselves in jail, and the result was the salvation of the jailer and his household (Acts 16:24-34). This was God’s plan, but not Paul’s. God does this often—putting us in places that we did not plan or decide to be. This is the leading of decree. It is unique above the other three leadings because it includes them (since God’s decrees include all our decisions) and because it happens infallibly (since “no purpose of [God’s] can be thwarted,” Job 42:2). The other three leadings of God involve our being consciously led.
2) Direction: This is simply what God does for us by giving us the commands and teachings of the Bible. They direct us specifically what to do and what not to do. The Ten Commandments are one example. Don’t steal. Don’t kill. Don’t lie. Or the Sermon on the Mount: Love your enemies. Or the Epistles: Be filled with the Holy Spirit. Put on humility. This is the leading of direction. God reveals his directions in the Bible.