The traits were the following*:
1. They incorporated what they believed into their daily grind.
2. They bumped up the quality of their spiritual experience.
3. They had a passion for effective action.
4. They labored for personal, ecclesiastical and national reform.
* These points were originally taken from J.I. Packer and then mangled by me.
Points one and two were previously discussed, and I’d like to focus on point three: a passion for effective action.
Wherever and whenever Christians forcefully delivered a holy spiritual punch to the demonic gut and brought life, light and liberty to people and places, it was because they had dreams without being dreamy. They had a practical faith that worked in the mud . . . a faith that was not nebulous, vapid, ridiculous or insipid. They were people who were supernaturally natural, who did not forego working in this world to be caught up in the world to come. You know the type: the eye-fluttering, angel-seeing, super-spiritual religious caricature who is so heavenly minded that he is no earthly good; the sort who dreams about how he would rather be in heaven while he tints his windows against the headaches here on the earth. Yes, the Christians who have altered the planet for the glory of God had both a positive, Bible-based vision of what could and should be and a resolute will to get their butts in gear to do that which should be done.
When Christianity has been a contender within its culture, the Church has had low tolerance for the lazy, passive, airy and indecisive disciple who thinks it's not his job to change the world. Savory Christian cultural architects actually believed God's will should be done on earth as it is in heaven, and thus clipped along at an energetic pace, establishing Christ's view of justice, mercy and righteousness.
Today, too much of the Church can be characterized as pessimistic and passive, always willing to believe the worst as long as it takes as little energy as possible. The beliefs that societal wrongs cannot be corrected because the world is supposed to slide into an anti-Christ-run keg party, or that the job doesn't belong to the laity but to the clergy, have left tens of thousands of believers about as active in the world as Howard Hughes was during flu season.