Editor's Note: The following is a report on the practical applications of John Eldredge's book, Beautiful Outlaw: Experiencing the Playful, Disruptive, Extravagant Personality of Jesus, (Faith Words, 2011).

Reading or hearing about Jesus without knowing His personality may leave you with the wrong impression of Him as someone who’s distant or strange. Too often, religion presents just such a distorted view of Jesus.

But when you get to know Jesus’ personality, you can better understand His divinity, and why He chose to say and do things that woke people up from their religious comas and brought them face to face with truth. Knowing the kind of person Jesus was on Earth can help you relate to Him better now as your divine Savior and Lord.

Here’s how you can discover the real Jesus through His personality:

Ask Jesus to show you who He really is. Jesus wants you to know Him. He came to Earth to show the world what God is really like. Knowing Jesus will give you the greatest fulfillment of all, and being mistaken about Jesus is the worst mistake you can ever make. So pray for Jesus to reveal Himself to you, and give you the wisdom you need to let go of false ideas about him so you can embrace the truth about Him.

Get to know Jesus’ playfulness. Look at what Jesus has created to see glimpses of His playfulness on display. Laughter was His idea, and He made many playful creatures, from golden retrievers to dolphins.

Get to know Jesus’s fierce intentions. Jesus is serious about standing up for His convictions and fulfilling His purposes. He is passionate, but never reckless, when he expresses His intentions. Remember how angry Jesus got when He cleared the temple of people who were using it as a place of business instead of a house of prayer, but also remember that Jesus directed His anger in a constructive (rather than a destructive) way.

Get to know Jesus’ humanity. When Jesus lived on Earth, He had the most human face of all, because He lived in the way that God wants human beings to live. He was fully divine, yes, but He was also fully human. He felt hunger, thirst, and physical pain. He felt emotions running the gamut from happiness to sorrow. He faced the same temptations that you must face in this fallen world. When you realize that Jesus knows exactly what it’s like to be human, you can approach Him more comfortably than you can otherwise.

Get to know Jesus’ extravagant generosity. Jesus gives an innumerable amount of generous gifts to you every day – from the food you eat, to the people you love. Use the senses He has given you (seeing, hearing, smelling, tasting, and touching) to notice more of His good gifts in your life, and make a habit of thanking Him for His extravagant generosity.

Get to know Jesus’ disruptive honesty. Jesus always speaks the truth, even when doing so startles people. Whenever you find yourself offended by something Jesus tells you, recognize that the offense is something within you, not Him. If the truth about something makes you feel uncomfortable, ask Jesus to give you the courage to accept the truth and empower you to deal with the situation the way He wants you to handle it.

Get to know Jesus’ scandalous freedom. Jesus offers you a freedom that’s scandalous to religious people who are caught in the trap of legalism. Instead of focusing on external rules, Jesus focuses on internal holiness – and that’s what will truly change your life for the better.