The charismatic gift of discernment of spirits helps you to know what spirit is behind a message. Originally and indeed still today that is useful in knowing whether a so called prophetic message comes from God or just the person’s own soul, mind and heart, or perhaps from a demonic spirit. Its operation has nothing to do with intellect or reason, but is as much a spiritual gift independent of these things as any other gift such a gifts of healing, gifts of knowledge, tongues and interpretation of tongues. It has a knock on benefit when considering what books to read.
Some of the most recommended “Christian” books of today have their origin in the spirit of anti-Christ and yet seem to be commended by Christian leaders of influence as must read books that anyone interested in the church and its mission needs to read. I once experienced the gift kicking in when holding a book by a well known theologian; the book and its author were highly commended on the front and back pages by some influential figures in the Christian “scene.” The manifestation of the gift of discernment told me this was not of God neither was it merely human. Because the writer was greatly respected in academic and church circles throughout the world, I nonetheless bought it. I stopped reading it after 3 pages as there was a sense of spiritual death that engulfed me. The cost of disobedience to the Spirit was £14.99. By the mercy of God other deeper costs of my disobedience were met and covered.
It is good to ask for God’s help to be discerning in what we read in terms of what is on offer or being publicised in the “Christian” book world, rather than just to read so as to be thought of as up to date in our learning and in our studies. Secular books with obvious limitations are much less dangerous to our well being than many Christian works of fact, fiction, or fantasy.