—Deuteronomy 27:9-10 (NASB)
What is supposed to be the defining characteristic of the church? Whether someone's a Believer or not, how can they recognize for sure that an individual, group, or entire movement is truly "a people for the Lord"? I believe the Bible teaches that it's evidenced by behavior, the degree to which obedience to God's Word has been allowed to change them according to His will and ways, completely forsaking their own.
I don't think we can confidently answer this question by examination of their doctrine alone. Even if someone states all the right things, and yet does not live according to them, they are not truly "a people for the Lord". The proof lies in the two actions identified in these verses, "obey the Lord your God, and do His commands". These are the marks of genuiness and spiritual credibility. Every inspirational spiritual role model who has crossed my path has presented a living example of a life committed to putting into practice God's ways in parallel to forsaking their own. What they say is backed up by how they live.
But how do the spiritual giants do it? Are they just simply more disciplined than everyone else? Are they born with a genetic predisposition the rest of us are missing? No, I think these verses highlight something that they do regularly that reinforces one's desire to be ever increasingly obedient: "Be silent and listen, O Israel!" Yes, they actually shut up and listen.
Before we can properly focus on being obedient to God's Word, we have to begin with properly focusing on God Himself. Every example of a biblical character who came into the presence of God responded by acknowledging Him and falling silent in worship before Him. They were true listeners, acknowledging not just the Truth of the message but the divine and sovereign Source of the message as well. I think that to "become a people for the Lord your God" requires the initial step to "be silent and listen" that we might be transformed by the very Author Himself. Maybe the church appears to be in so much trouble today because they're too busy talking and carrying on themselves, that this simple yet critical step is being overlooked.†††