Mark Copeland wrote an extremely insightful and well explained description of what the Bible teaches about the leading of the Holy Spirit: http://executableoutlines.com/hs/hs_09.htm It describes the leading of the Spirit through the word and the implications of the Holy Spirit in the life of the Christian. In my life I have seen brethren who believe that the Holy Spirit speaks to them directly telling them what Bible passages mean, what job to take, where to live, etc. Though Francis Chan called the Holy Spirit “The Forgotten God”, He is also subject to the most misunderstanding and speculation. Scripture doesn’t give us many details of much of His work but that doesn’t stop people from attributing messages and direction to Him. (Great review of that book by Gardner Hall here: http://www.gardnerhall.com/articles/reviewForgottenGod.html note: Hall also talks about scriptural problems with Chan’s “Spirit leading” teaching).
The Leading of the Holy Spirit
The clear problem is that the Scriptures do not teach a direct leading of the Holy Spirit in the revelation of God’s will when we study or specific direction in our lives. There are no instructions for Christians on how to listen for the Spirit or how to discern between the message of a person’s spirit or the Holy Spirit after the period of spiritual gifts have ceased. There is no scripture addressing the consequences when we don’t move to the place or take the job as the Spirit directs (is it the same as breaking an explicit command of Scripture?–why not?). Furthermore, those who believe the Spirit speaks to them directly cannot explain how so many people who claim to be divinely led by the Spirit speak contradictory things when “God is not the author of confusion.” Where are the explicit miracles to accompany the revelation of God’s will as that which accompanied the revelation of God’s word in the Scriptures?
Many years ago I knew some people who first believed that the Spirit helped them understand God’s word and that He would set up “appointments” for them. Eventually, they became so “Spirit led” that they felt the Spirit was dictating what they should wear, where they should eat, and would give them words to say–essentially becoming puppets of the Spirit who no longer made decisions for themselves. This is a departure from the Bible description of lives transformed by the study and application of the Spirit-inspired scripture that become spiritually discerning, kingdom focused, looking for opportunities to teach and edify, and making life choices (such as careers and where to live) in view of how the choice can glorify God.