Friends--and good communities--says Wadell, helps us stay focused on what is best and most promising. Wadell observes, "The good we seek is hard to attain and never completely in our grasp. We grow in this goodness, but we never completely possess it...In the Christian life we remain seekers, people on a quest...When the good we seek perpetually transcends us, we are tempted to direct our attention to other attainable goals or to be lured by more comfortable and achievable understandings of happiness; in short, it is easier to be a profligate consumer or a polisher pleasure seeker rather than a faithful Christian...a Christian account almost ensures occasional disillusionment because it argues that our happiness depends on a radical change of ourselves, a thorough conversion of our hearts that will always be incomplete."
Citing Stanley Hauerwas and Charles Pinches, Wadell notes perseverance is a "communal virtue."
Perseverance towards our good and happiness, "is impossible without the support and companionship of friends or the encouragement we find in healthy, strong communities."
"This is why" Wadell writes, "the Christian life of discipleship requires good friendships and good communities--why, in fact, it requires a certain kind of church. Even when the goal and journey is friendship and happiness in God, we need others to assure us of its value, others to remind us that seeking God must always be the core commitment for our lives...Churches ought to be communities in which 'friends of God' steady one another when they are tempted to give up. They ought to be communities where one person is able to supply the energy, zeal, and commitment another might occasionally lack. Whether through humor, counsel, encouragement, or simply their presence, Christians should do for one another what good friends always do: They should help one another remain resolute in the pursuit of the most promising good for our lives."