Living into the Life of Jesus: The Formation of Christian Character, By Klaus Issler alt

Living into the Life of Jesus

The Formation of Christian Character

by Klaus Issler
Foreword by Calvin Miller

Living into the Life of Jesus
  • Length: 240 pages
  • Published: March 07, 2012
  • Imprint: IVP
  • Item Code: 6964
  • ISBN: 9780830869640

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Why does merely understanding and trying hard to follow the example of Jesus often yield little progress—and even less joy and peace?

Deriving insights from the life of Jesus in the Gospels, Klaus Issler uncovers the dynamics involved in truly becoming more Christlike. He shows how you can forge much deeper connections with Jesus so that his life permeates your own character. The result is a closer alignment between what you want to do as a follower of Jesus, what you actually do and who you are becoming in your relationship with him. Learn to be transformed from the inside out.

"As a pastor I am constantly seeking relevant and insightful books which stimulate not only my own personal growth but also provide an effective tool to help my church members develop the image of Christ in their lives. My criterion for such books is that they be biblically grounded with relevant application. Living into the Life of Jesus is one book that accomplishes that goal for me. Issler offers fresh and deep insights to familiar passages of Scripture. But this is not just an academic exercise. It will challenge your mind and also lead your heart into the practice of spiritual formation that is Christ-centered and empowered by the Spirit of God. This is an essential text for any pastor that seeks to form the character of Christ in his own life and the life of his church."

David J. Mitchell, senior pastor, Calvary Church of Santa Ana

"The desire to become more Christlike sometimes gets translated into a list of dos and don'ts which, quite frankly, can be more burdensome than joyful. In contrast, Klaus Issler draws from the teachings of Jesus to provide a fresh perspective on achieving genuine character change. Of particular interest to me is his emphasis on the redemptive potential of marketplace activity and personal wealth. With its generous use of 'prayer projects' and review questions, I believe this book has strong potential for use in classrooms and Bible studies."

Steve Rundle, professor of international business, Biola University, and coauthor of Great Commission Companies

"Our life and relationships in Christ simply work right when we live them out from the heart. Issler's scholarship and warmth show us how clearly and deeply Jesus' teachings lead us along that path."

John Townsend, author of the bestselling Boundaries

"This book is about learning to live like Jesus: to become more like him, to understand what it means to incorporate his way into our way, to know the heart and mind of Christ. Klaus Issler provides us a fresh and thoughtful perspective of what we can learn and apply from the life of Jesus."

Bill Pollard, chairman and CEO emeritus, The ServiceMaster Company

"If you want to be changed by following the way of Jesus, immerse yourself in these penetrating, well-thought-out observations of Jesus' life alongside practical guidance for living into that life yourself."

Jan Johnson, author of Abundant Simplicity and Invitation to the Jesus Life

"The more Christian books I read, the more disappointed I become. As well-intended as many of these authors are, too often their final product ends up selling out to the cultural norm of shallow anecdotal responses, overly simplistic solutions, little to no rigorously applied thought processes and mediocre integration of Scripture to their subject matter. Klaus Issler's book is about as opposite of the abovementioned deficiencies as I have read in a very long time. Living into the Life of Jesus was such a pleasure to read; I felt the author and I were having an ongoing discussion versus being preached to in 'black and white.' Throughout the book, Issler shares his struggles, his victories, but most importantly, his personal mistakes. In doing so, Klaus has written a book that I plan on sharing with many of my clients so they may understand, appreciate and be better equipped to meet the challenge of Ephesians 4:13 '[to attain] the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.'"

Raymond P. Gleason, business executives coach, Building Champions

"Klaus Issler has identified the key to authentic Christian living: It is a matter of both the heart and discipline. Get ready to drink from a fire hose emanating from the well of truth, the Bible. This book will put you to work and on the road to a deeper relationship with the Lord. The work is worth the investment. Issler combines theology, Scripture, real-life experience and assignments, all designed to sharpen your understanding and Christian walk."

Ken Eldred, businessman/philanthropist, author of The Integrated Life

"The formation of good character is the standing human problem, generation to generation, and it is the arena of perpetual human failure throughout history, up to today. The formation of Christian character in companionship with Christ is the verifiable solution to the standing problem and the constant failure. For many decades, Christian sources have not done well with character formation, if they have addressed it at all. Klaus Issler has carefully worked his way through the details of how Christian character formation reliably proceeds. He knows from personal experience and scholarly research how it works. He guides you in the path and enables you to extend what you have gained to others in desperate need around you. Living into the Life of Jesus is a vital resource for any individual or group looking for ways to realize the powerful outcomes of spiritual transformation manifestly presented in the pages of the New Testament."

Dallas Willard, author of The Divine Conspiracy and The Spirit of the Disciplines

"Living into the Life of Jesus gently points us toward recognizing the gaps in our spiritual formation plan and gives us fresh tools to dive deep into the love letters of God in the Bible. Issler takes on the oft-forgotten practices of peacemaking and forgiveness, showing us practical ways to flourish in deep, real relationships designed for a lifetime instead of just a season. He also tackles the tough topics of money, the marketplace and generosity. Your walk with Jesus will be refreshed and the practices of your faith will be renewed and strengthened as you live into the life of Jesus."

Greg Leith, director, Strategic Alliances, Biola University, Board of Directors, Convene CEO Forum and The Barnabas Group

"Living into the Life of Jesus is a breath of fresh air whose uniqueness lies in two directions: its central focus is on Jesus and the Gospels, and it includes a seminal chapter on finances and the spiritual life. Issler provides the reader with new insight after new insight. But he is no mere theorist, and the reader will walk away with numerous, specific suggestions as to how to live more like Jesus. I highly recommend this wonderful book."

J. P. Moreland, Talbot School of Theology, Biola University, author of The Kingdom Triangle

"Klaus Issler's multifaceted approach to spiritual formation will be a reliable guide. . . . Living into the Life of Jesus bridges the delicate balance between rigorous scholarship and practical steps for application and life change."

Christy Hill, Christian Education Journal, Spring 2013

"In reading this book, it was a delight to again be in Dr. Issler's classroom under his tutelage. He inspires me to find fresh ways to live out my life and calling in Christ. He opens his own heart and shares it humbly with me. He is not afraid to challenge my thinking as well as my heart. I am grateful for his continuing influence on my life through the pages of this book."

Keith A. Kettenring, Journal of Spiritual Formation and Soul Care, Fall 2012

"To the point of forming Christ-like character as cognitive restructuring, thus affecting core beliefs, intermediate beliefs, automatic thoughts and so forth, to those clients who explicitly identify themselves as Christians and seek to address their presenting problem through a Christian worldview, Living into the Life of Jesus may serve as an excellent adjunct to the practitioner's clinical protocol."

David C. Walther, Journal of Psychology and Christianity, 2015, Vol. 34, No. 1


Foreward by Calvin Miller


Part One: A Process for Christian Character Formation
1. Form Your Heart, Not Just Your Behavior
2. Wake up to Five Formation Gaps
3. Adapt Formation Practices for your journey

Part Two: Essential Divine Resources of Formation Grace
4. Love: Divine Relational Support in Jesus' Life and Ours
5. Holy Spirit: Divine Mentoring in Jesus' Life and Ours
6. Scripture: Divine Revelation of Reality and a "Jesus" Lifestyle

Part Three: Following Jesus in Our Gaps
7. Three Exemplary Jesus Practices About Relationships
8. Three Exemplary Jesus Practices About Money and Work


Name and Subject Index

Scripture Index


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Klaus Issler

Klaus Issler (PhD, Michigan State) is professor of Christian education and theology in the Ph.D. program in educational studies at Talbot School of Theology, Biola University, in La Mirada, California.