In his book Living for God, Dr. Frank Hasel presents Jesus “in the beauty of His holiness,” the One altogether worthy of our praise. Jesus’ life here on earth was a manifestation of the love of our Father in heaven toward fallen human beings; it was a life in which love and virtue were exemplified in everything He did. Defining virtue as a quality of moral excellence or goodness, Dr. Hasel believes that to be virtuous is to be like Jesus. In his book, he encourages the practice of virtue in all aspects of our lives: in how we think, in how we feel, and in how we behave. He examines various aspects of how to think, feel, and behave in ways that truly allow us to love God with all of our hearts, minds, and souls. He proposes that living virtuously not only honors our Creator but allows us to become all we can become.

Drawing freely from his own personal experience and his deep understanding of God’s word, Dr. Hasel inspires us to virtue and enables each of us to tap into the longing for holiness and virtue that lies deep within each of our hearts. He believes that whether or not we recognize it, we all crave virtue because we are created in the image of God, created to live lives of holiness and virtue. The virtues that we long for, and that satisfy our souls as nothing else can, are expressions of God’s character. Dr. Hasel describes practical ways to experience God’s love through engaging with Scripture and through prayer. Although Jesus has invited us to bring our needs and wants to Him, Dr. Hasel shares that in his experience what God does in us is more important than what He does for us or through us.

Although we can and should find things to be grateful for each and every day of our lives, life in our fallen world is nonetheless difficult. It is often filled with loss and suffering. Having lost his wife to cancer, leaving him to raise three sons alone, Dr. Hasel points out that seasons of grief provide unique opportunities to practice virtue. Rather than focusing on one’s losses or hoping that our circumstances will change, Dr. Hasel points out that the pain of loss provides an opportunity for us to fix our focus on Jesus. By beholding Him, we become changed. In reading his book, one feels the transforming power of beholding Jesus and abiding in Him. He positions us to be transformed into the image of Jesus and to experience the joy of fellowship with Him.


Frank M. Hasel, Living for God: Reclaiming the Joy of Christian Virtue (Nampa, ID: Pacific Press, 2020), 128 pp., USD 14.99.

Reviewed by L. Ann Hamel, PhD, DMin Psychologist, International Service Employee Support Team of the General Conference