rebelling against low expectations

How To Be Cool (Or Not), Part 3


This is the final part of a three-part series on coolness and godliness. In this post, John looks at what it means to be cool according to God’s idea. View Part 1 or Part 2.

“For to set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace. For the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God, for it does not submit to God’s law; indeed, it cannot. Those who are in the flesh cannot please God. You, however, are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if in fact the Spirit of God dwells in you. Anyone who does not have the Spirit of God does not belong to him. But if Christ is in you, although the body is dead because of sin, the Spirit is life because of righteousness. If the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, he who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit who dwells in you” (Romans 8:6-11).

With this passage fresh in our minds, let’s unthaw the coolness of our hearts and plunge into the fundamentals of zeal for God.

You’d think a homeschooler would be immune to coolness. You’d think the author of these articles would be immune at least. I’m not.

I’m learning these lessons even as I’m writing them. I need this just as much as anybody.

So what does God say about coolness? Here are three fundamentals.

1. Set your mind on things above.

Everyone’s heard those songs that just get stuck in your head. Some of us have fought day in and day out just to get impure thoughts from our mind. Or going to when we were younger, trying to block things we’ve seen from movies so we can sleep without nightmares.

Unfortunately, it never works to try to not think about something. Usually, it only makes it worse, and it’s the same with being cool.

When we’re constantly trying not to be cool, we end up being just as self-focused as if we were being cool, and not only self-focused but judgmental of others.

We also become sin-focused. Maybe we think we should be focused on sin (not on harboring it of course but on eradicating it.) God says differently in the passage we just read: “The mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God.”

We can’t obey Him when we’re constantly focused on our sin.

Instead God says, “Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worth of praise, think about these things” (Philippians 4:8).

Maybe some secular music falls into this category, but likely we’ll be listening to this music for very different reasons than the ones we had in the past.

We might ask, “Does God like this music? Do I like this music?” rather than, “Do my friends like this music? Will I be left out if I don’t?”

2. See how great God is.

The most truthful, honorable, pure, lovely, commendable, excellent, and praiseworthy person is God.

God! That’s what Christianity is all about – not our sin but our redeemer.

Ephesians 1:20-23 reads, “[H]e worked in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly places, far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and above every name that is named, not only in this age but also in the one to come. And he put all things under his feet and gave him as head over all things to the church which is his body, the fullness of him who fills all in all” (emphasis mine).

Imagine that.

Well, you can’t. We can’t even imagine how great other humans will be in the age to come, and God says He’s even greater than them. Even greater than we will be.

God says we, the body of Christ, are the fullness of Him who fills all in all. All in all. Everything. So why don’t we find God in that secular music? See how God fills it. He might show us something cool, or, eh awesome!

3. Love.

Not many of us can honestly say we don’t care what other people think.

We might not care what the cool kids think. Oh, we’ve tried them for acceptance. All they do is put us in a corner.

And we probably don’t care what a select group of weird or younger people think. If we cared what they think, everyone else would think we were weird.

But there is always someone’s opinion we care about. Our best friend. The girl (or guy) we like. Our parents? Cool people who haven’t already let us down.

It’s time we stop caring what people think and truly love them. Love the weird people. . .

Yes. Those who are younger than you.

Those who talk about Nerf and Lego until you can hardly bear it (or girls and books and theology if you’re not like me.)

Those who are different than you.

Those who, like you, may feel excluded from the cool crowd.

But it doesn’t just mean loving the weird people, since we might fit in better with them anyway. It means loving the cool people.

No, not trying to impress them. Loving them. Forgetting about them … and yourself … and just loving them.

Bonus fundamental: God’s sovereign. You’re single. That’s okay.

Enough said. My two favorite biblical characters were also single.

So to sum it all up, let’s not try to be cool. NO! That would be going against the first fundamental. Let’s stop thinking about whether or not we’re cool.

Let’s forget ourselves. We’re tiny. God’s great.

As my friend likes to say, “Cállate la boca” and listen to God.

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Photo courtesy of Lauren Rushing and Flickr Creative Commons.


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About the author

Jason Zimmerman

is a 16-year-old passionate about serving God through writing and drama and loves embarking in strong God-honoring relationships with other believers. He is currently working on a full-length middle-grade novel, The Cruel Cat and The Hero’s Tail. He is also part of a Christian dance studio and has been taking piano lessons for ten years.


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  • Thanks for writing this, John 😀 I’ve gotten to the point where I don’t care much whether people think I’m cool, but I’d given up simply because I knew there wasn’t much point in trying, not because I didn’t want to be cool. These articles have given me a new perspective 🙂

    • Hahaha! At least you can play in the house (that’s why my bro has so many Nerf guns!). We use Nerf more for strategy than hardcore war at my house, although it does get hardcore sometimes… Nerf DID however come out with a new line of guns for kids 14+ and They shoot different, harder, golf-ball-like ammunition, and seem to hurt a relative amount depending on your proximity to the shooter of course… They say you should use a face mask. Maybe that’s a little overkill, but my brother got one and I’m not excited for target practice XD

      • Yeah, my younger brother got one of those 14+ ones. I go into a fetal position every time he brings it out, even though it doesn’t hurt THAT much. The sound enough makes you want to hide behind a couch.

  • Really awesome article, John! Really convicted me on just loving, and not caring about what others think of me. That’s always been hard a hard one for me. Thanks for writing! 🙂

  • This is AMAZING thank you so much for writing this!
    I personally am definitely someone who struggles with pride and what others think of me!

    • We all are. Thx for the encouragement! Just trying to communicate some things that I’ve been learning.

  • This is really great, John! I struggle a lot with wanting to be like other people who are “cool.”
    Btw, I love LEGOs!

          • Every time I say that I’m crazy, my older brother quotes Lewis Carrol to me and tells me all the best people are.

          • Legos are awesome, but I always had a hard time keeping the sets together. There was always ONE piece I needed for a different creation, and then that led to all of them.

          • My brothers are obsessed with LEGOs. We have a six foot table in our basement that’s completely covered in dozens of different sets (which is all fun and games till i step on a stray piece, haha) XD

          • That sounds amazing! I actually don’t have many at all, but I do stuff like looking at the sets on the LEGO website and I found this thing online where I just go and “build” stuff. It’s a thing you can sign up for and save your stuff, but I just go on there when I’m bored and then don’t save them.

          • MY LIFE! I probably step on legos about five times a day. definitely kills any sympathy towards my brother’s ‘architectural pursuits.” :p

          • Hahaha…same here…We definitely have too much Lego on the floor at our house! 😉

        • Glad it is not just our family. 😉 I am 17 and still play with them when the family gets them out. My dad at almost 40 also plays with them.

  • I think it’s really important not to exclude those who are younger. John is a good example of that! I’m a year younger than him, and he still likes to hang out with me. I do sometimes have a hard time relating to them in ways.

  • Yes! I always love thinking of ways that secular music can reflect God! Like the song that goes : ( I’m only one call away // I’ll be there to save the day // Superman’s got no-thing on me // I’m only one call away ) He’s always there for us!!

  • I’m 13 and know these articles will help me in my preparation for high school. Thank you, John!

    • Hey Page, I am too!
      Even though I am home schooled I can understand just entering the teenage years. And you don’t have to be like everyone else in 1 peter 2 :9 it says- you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should show forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvelous light:

      • Sorry I hope this does not seem weird it just that I have not heard of many on the reb that are our ages!

          • I’ve only been on for about a month. My mom gave me the book Do Hard Things and I loved it! 🙂

          • Yea, i love the idea, of not having to act like the normal teenager. That we are set apart, 1 Peter 2:9.

  • Haha! I must agree homeschoolers are not immune to “coolness”. I had tried to be cool (like most people do) when I was younger. And I have since learned that all I have to do is look good for the gospel (and shower regularly). Thanks for the article. In Christ alone.

rebelling against low expectations

The Rebelution is a teenage rebellion against low expectations—a worldwide campaign to reject apathy, embrace responsibility, and do hard things. Learn More →