Over at the Catholic Analysis blog, Oswald Sobrino has a wonderful essay about the essence of a Christian hero: The Christian Hero v. the Pagan Hero
His thesis: a Christian hero suffers for what is right and just, no matter the cost. He does not seek glory in this life, but in the next.
I highly recommended the Catholic Analysis blog, and encourage you to visit it often, whether you are Catholic or not. While Sobrino is unapolagetically Catholic, his writings apply to the wider of world of Christianity as well.