Articles 14489842829_88d2243d3f_z

Published on March 18th, 2016 | by Jason Zimmerman

How To Be Cool (Or Not), Part 2

This is the second part of a three-part series on coolness and godliness. In this post, John looks at how being cool according to the world’s standards is detrimental for the Christian. Next week he’ll examine what God thinks about it.

In my last article I laid out what being cool is according to the world.

I said that when I was a tween I craved it. But now, I’ve started to become it in some form, shape, or size. But what’s so wrong about being cool anyway?

Here’s what’s wrong:

1. Embracing being cool destroys my fear of God.

God tells me to follow my convictions. When I’m trying to convince my parents to let me read the rest of the Hunger Games even though everything they’re saying about the series makes me feel uneasy, that’s betraying my conscience.

When I tell some people I’m not going to read the rest of the series and then later the same week tell others I will, I’m betraying my conscience again.

And not just my conscience but the fear of God which “is the beginning of wisdom” (Prov. 9:10).

God clearly tells us not to say one thing to one person and something else to another.

One experience I’ve had recently that’s made me fear I’m losing my fear of God is when I finally got a cool hairstyle – a cowlick (even though I’d nearly promised myself to never style my hair like that and affectionately called it a “duck butt.”)

Less than 24 hours after I first decided to stick with that style, I wondered if I was being vain.

Later the same week, I felt as if God was telling me to stop doing my hair like that.

I wrestled with myself.

“Can it really be God?” “It’s probably just me being legalistic again.” “I mean, aren’t there verses in the Bible about not creating extra rules?”

Underneath all my wrestling was a sinful heart attitude – “I don’t care what you say, God. This is my hair, and I can do whatever I want with it.”

It showed me where my values lay. My best friend’s opinion mattered more to me than God’s.

Even though it was only days after having a great encounter with the Holy Spirit, I didn’t immediately stop. While my heart said, “Even if this isn’t God, it’s better safe than sorry,” the fool in me said, “There is no God” (Psalm 14:1).

That’s scary.

2. Embracing being cool destroys my love of God.

“Do not love the world nor the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and the boastful pride of life, is not from the Father, but is from the world” (1 John 2:15-16).

When I stare at myself in the mirror wearing cool clothes and a cowlick and singing Pharrell’s “Happy,” it makes me, well, happy.

That’s embarrassing to read on a computer screen in a post I know will be read by complete strangers, and even more embarrassing since I want to share this with my friends.

But I don’t think I’m the only vain person reading my article.

Maybe I am. But I’ll say this anyway. Falling in love with the world and myself is always detrimental.

Days after my encounter with the Holy Spirit, I was again arguing with myself about my hair. I liked it. And guess what? After spending five minutes staring at it, I was happy.

And I had been dealing with a lot of depression. Looking at myself made me happy – the times I wasn’t texting my friend at the same time and wondering how he’d react if I died.

So I told God, “This hair style makes me happy. You don’t. Why should I change this for You?”

If that’s not a clear absence of the love of God, I don’t know what is.

Immediately afterwards, I thought of the encounter with His Spirit and how happy I had been then. “Well, I’m not feeling it now,” I foolishly argued, “so I don’t care about what God wants.”

That’s scary.

3. Embracing being cool destroys my faith in God.

When I’m in love with the world and fear it instead of God, everything goes great for a while. Then I realize just how unsatisfying the world is.

When a friend can’t come over every single time I invite him. When I feel like I care more about a specific friendship than the other person. When I don’t get social interaction every day because I’m homeschooled.

Then I get depressed. I feel unloved, unaccepted, worthless.

I blame it on lack of sleep, on myself, or even on God.

But really, I should be blaming it on my idolatry, because that’s what being cool is – idolatry.

Coolness is a submission to the fear of man over the fear of God.

Coolness is a love of the acceptance of man that kills my love for God.

Coolness demands for me to be good enough and denies that Jesus was already good enough.

When God says I am valuable, I stop believing Him. I don’t care if some old man in the sky loves me. He loves everyone. I want my friends to love me.

I stop believing His promises for me. His truths about who I am. My faith in the sufficiency of His cross is ruined. His cross cannot pay for me. It cannot give me worth – I must give myself worth. I must prove myself.

Basically, I’m telling God, “I can’t believe Your promises. I can’t believe what You say about me. Your cross is not enough. I have to be enough.”

That too is scary.

There’s good news, though: I’ve started reading my Bible more. I’ve stopped doing my hair how I want it. That battle is over, but there are a thousand little battles left to fight.

And through Christ I can be victorious.

So fellow teen, maybe you’ve been living for cool. It’s time you start living for God. (I’ll talk more about how to do this in the third part.)

So tweens who are like I used to be, you saw in the first article how to be cool. You saw in this article how it gets easier as you go and you care less and less about what you really think, about what your parents think, and about what God thinks.

Sounds appealing, right? At least your “cool” peers have friends. They seem self-confident.

But it’s your choice. Christians can be “cool” or “persecuted [even by other believers] for the cross of Christ” (Galatians 6:12).

“No one can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and” coolness (Matthew 6:24).

Stay tuned for Part 3!

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Photo courtesy of Maria Grazia Montagnari and Flickr Creative Commons.


About the Author

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.

  • Yay, part two is here and boy did it deliver! =D I was especially convicted by “‘This hair style makes me happy. You don’t. Why should I change this for You?’ If that’s not a clear absence of the love of God, I don’t know what is.” Thanks for writing! =)

    • Piano With Eyes-that r worlds

      Yeah! Thanks for the encouragement.

  • My one and only complaint: if that dude in the picture’s facial expression is supposed to represent “coolness”, it’s not really…he looks more like he just…I dunno, but it’s not very cool ;D

    • Maybe he just took the Lyme disease challenge =P

      • The title of the post is “How To Be Cool (Or Not)“. 😉

      • Piano With Eyes-that r worlds


      • Jenna Szubinski

        *chokes on lime seed while photographer takes photo*
        —also, why isn’t he wearing LIME green?! XD

        • Hahaha I dunno, you tell me. Maybe because he’s trying to be uncool? XD

          • Jenna Szubinski

            I don’t know, but it sure mustn’t have been subLIME if he did choke on one. XD LOL

          • Hahaha I see what you did there XD

          • Jenna Szubinski

            Good XD

      • This part of the thread… This would be one of the things I don’t miss about revive =b

        • What??? Lol it’s one of my favorite parts about Revive ;D We miss you btw =)

          • I liked it, but it tends to drag on…and on… And on… You get the point. I did my share though. 😉
            I miss y’all too!

          • MimeforJesus

            I second what he said! We miss youuu!!!

          • Awww! Miss ya too, smiley mimey!

          • I know this is random, but I added disqus to my blog. TODAY!!!!:) so y’all should come check it out…;0)

          • Hi. I miss you. :'(

          • Hey.
            I miss y’all, too!

          • How are you?

          • Actually, I’m doing great!
            How about you?

          • Really? Yay! I’m okay. :)

          • Truly.
            Well, okay isn’t too bad :)

          • That’s…really good to know. :’)

          • :)

          • What is? That okay isn’t bad or that I’m good? Lol. Jk

          • That you’re good of course! :)

            Oh and the other is good too.

          • Lol :)

          • Hehe. :)

    • Olivia W.

      Umm… yeah he’s kinda creeping me out the way he’s staring…. xD

      • Jesse Serengeti

        It’s the look you would have after you did something really dumb.

    • Piano With Eyes-that r worlds

      Didn’t pick the picture! That’s for you to talk to Jaquelle about 😉

    • Piano With Eyes-that r worlds

      That’s probably an uncool person like me trying to be cool and failing miserably?

    • :)

    • Jesse Serengeti

      Maybe that’s what someone trying to be cool would do.

  • Anne

    Great article! Good reminder that we can’t serve two masters at once and that by trying to be cool, it can really destroy our relationship with God. Looking forward to Part 3!

  • Dude. This is good.

    • Piano With Eyes-that r worlds


  • Jenna Szubinski

    This was a pretty interesting article!! 😀

  • Celestria

    Wow. I am so not used to hearing this stuff from a teenager. I try not to be too obsessed with how I look. I like wearing cute clothes, but I try to be modest at the same time. And I try not to overdo the makeup.(all I wear is concealer and mascara) I admit to spending a long time on my hair sometimes. But in my defense, it is super thick and long and I’m not good at fixing it certain ways, like I spent forever trying to get my hair into a decent bun today lol

    • Piano With Eyes-that r worlds

      Yeah, I think we can’t make it about what we do (our actions.) It’s about the heart behind it.

      • Celestria

        I completely agree

  • Josiah

    This was a great article.

  • Miriam

    I’ve never thought about it like this before, but this is great! Thank you for being so honest and sharing with us. :)

  • truthwillsetyoufree

    Being cool depends on who you’re trying to be cool for. The world, or God. Being cool for God doesn’t always mean fitting it. Sometimes it means standing apart or even alone.

  • Haylie

    *winces* ouch. This is so good. Thanks for writing this honest and convicting article, John.

  • Not sure about the part about how enjoying ourselves and our lives is somehow opposed to loving God. God made this world and God is the source of all good things- including our happiness about hairstyles or any other little things.

    • Olivia W.

      In a way, yes, we should enjoy the life that God has given us. But I think the point was sorta that what God wants for us is more important than what we want, and if it doesn’t please God then it doesn’t matter whether it makes us happy or not. If God doesn’t like it, then we shouldn’t do/wear/say it.

    • Madison Camp

      But everything we do is supposed to honor HIM. Not us, and when we get that twisted we put ourselves in the place of God. Not cool.

      • Piano With Eyes-that r worlds

        Not cool. Lol

  • Hailey

    No worries, I’m the same way–although I might try to project otherwise, I’m pretty vain and I want to appear “cool,” which kills me when I bother to stop and think about it. A thousand little battles, but yes, we have the victory with Christ. Looking forward to part 3!

  • Noah Rogers

    Being cool is the least of my worries, considering the worlds view of what “Cool” is. Its utterly pointless when its all said and done anyway. Because the world will betray you.

    • Piano With Eyes-that r worlds

      I’d say it’s easy from a completely logical point of view to say we don’t want to be cool and see no reason we ever would, but when we’re actually in those situations where our friends want us to do things may not feel comfortable with it can be a lot harder.

  • Jesse Serengeti

    It’s easy to not be cool when you don’t have any friends.

    • Piano With Eyes-that r worlds

      I feel you. I didn’t have friends for a long time either. I would just encourage you to love your peers even when you feel nothing in return. Jesus sees that. Did you see my third article? It goes into that idea a little further.

      • Madison Camp

        @Jesssegreti:disqus & @liv737johnoxide:disqus Yeah! The best way to get friends is to be a friend to others! You are not alone! Other people are lonely and looking for a friend too, it will also help to ask God to bring you friends! He is our Provider, who gives us abundantly everything we need, that includes friends. I have seen this clearly in my own life. Don’t give up!

        • Piano With Eyes-that r worlds

          So, so true! God really does hear our prayers for friends and answers. That’s been evident in my life as wall. Thanks Maddie (Is it okay if I call you Maddie?)!

  • Rachel Wordes

    I absolutely love where you said “Coolness demands for me to be good enough and denies that Jesus was already good enough.” That definitely hit home for me!

  • “No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon.” Matthew 6:24 – King James Bible. (mammon or money)

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