NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Bombarded with worldly influences and battling youthful emotions, teen girls often are desperate for a voice of truth on how to honor God in every relationship.

Thus Vicki Courtney has been speaking up.

A noted author and speaker, Courtney recently won the 2005 Evangelical Christian Publisher Association’s top award in the children and youth category for “Teen Virtue: Real Issues, Real Life ... A Teen Girl’s Survival Guide.”

In June, “Teen Virtue 2: A Teen Girl’s Guide to Relationships” by Courtney and co-writers Susie Davis and Whitney Prosperi was released by B&H Publishing Group. Using short articles, quizzes and thought-provoking questions, the “maga-book” addresses topics critical to teen girls.

“'Teen Virtue 2' was created to be a survival guide of sorts when it comes to the relationships that matter most in your life – your relationships with friends, family, guys and God,” Courtney writes to the maga-book’s readers.

Courtney, founder of Virtuous Reality Ministries, addresses head-on the false sense of worth that girls often strive for through relationships with the opposite sex.

“God is passionate about His relationship with you,” Courtney writes. “We were created to love Him above all else. ... Having a boyfriend in God’s will and timing can bring satisfaction, but it can never bring worth.”

"Teen Virtue 2" also explores the definition of a “good guy,” consequences of dating a “bad guy,” the differences between guys and girls physically and the importance of patience when dating in terms of physical aspects of a relationship.

“You need to know that God has a man in mind for you that will be willing to love you in His way,” Davis writes. “Please don’t settle for anything other than God’s very best for your life.”

Boyfriends may come and go, but best friends are a teen girl’s lifeline, Prosperi notes, describing an authentic friend as one who is faithful in good times and bad and who also encourages a strong spiritual walk.

“A true friend won’t ask you to compromise what you believe,” she writes. “She will encourage you to make the right choice rather than tempt you to make the wrong one.”

On how to respond to friends who have strayed from their beliefs while protecting their own spiritual walk, Prosperi advises Bible study and prayer; finding a good support system; and being aware of pride that could result in a false sense of security where temptation is concerned.

She also suggests maintaining a level of concern for the fallen friend while also keeping a healthy perspective on the friend’s behavior.

“There is a fine line between reaching out to a friend who has chosen a sinful path and being tempted by them to take that route, too,” Prosperi warns. “Make sure you are the one influencing them rather than the other way around.”

Family members are a tool God uses to test a person’s faith and obedience, Prosperi points out in the maga-book.

“We may find it easy to put on our spiritual face at youth group,” Prosperi writes, “but it is impossible to fake it at home.”

Addressing the biblical truth of obeying parents and the consequence of disobeying those in authority, Davis writes, “When we make decisions to disobey those in authority, it is a natural impulse to feel like running to escape the inevitable consequences. While running might be the impulse, it’s not really the best option.”

Loving one’s family members, including one’s siblings, is required of all Christians, Prosperi writes, emphasizing that “God put you in your exact family for a reason. Take your eyes off what they do that bugs you and place it on how you can help and serve them. You’ll be amazed at how your attitude will change.”

"Teen Virtue 2" also addresses struggles teen girls have in terms of what it means to fear the Lord, to grow in their prayer lives and to grasp the depths of forgiveness and God’s grace.

“Unfortunately a lot of people see God as some kind of angry judge who sits behind a fancy mahogany desk with a gavel in hand just waiting to lower the boom on anyone who misbehaves,” Courtney writes.

She is quick to point to the mercy of God and the power of His forgiveness. Quoting Psalm 103:12, she explains that God has removed each believer’s transgressions as far as the east is from the west, displaying His mercy upon those who sin.

“Hebrews 4:16 encourages us to approach God’s throne of grace with confidence so we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need,” Courtney writes.


© 2006 Southern Baptist Convention, Baptist Press.  All rights reserved.  Used with permission.