2022-05-23
the lion king
Barne227/Wikimedia Commons

Why do stories like “The Lion King” reverberate so forcefully in our hearts? Why are we captivated by the dilemmas of a little lion cub who is meant to be king but instead finds himself exiled eating grubs with a warthog and a meerkat? What about his stroll to the top of pride rock that has us waiting, entranced, for that mighty roar?

Perhaps it’s the nuance of another story and the resounds of truths many Christians have heard since they were children. After all, this cherished classic was inspired by the tale of Moses. Simba’s journey isn’t so different from ours as believers. Here are some quotes from “The Lion King” that will influence your faith.

“Being brave doesn’t mean you go looking for trouble.” -Mufasa

After defying Mufasa and putting both himself and Nala in danger, Simba tearfully claims that he was trying to be brave, an assertion that inspires this tidbit of wisdom from Mufasa.

How often do we incite conflicts that weren’t meant for us to fight? Perhaps we think God needs us to assert ground for His kingdom, or we’ve wrongly recognized a personal grudge or matter of pride as God’s crusade. Romans 12:18 says, “If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.”

That’s the opposite of looking for danger. We must be fearless when facing whatever conflicts God allows, but we can’t mistake courage with aggression. Before engaging in battle, ask yourself if it will bring God glory. After all, that is our purpose as believers.

“There’s more to being king than getting your way all the time.” -Mufasa

Being the king’s son certainly comes with benefits, as any position of power does, but it also comes with accountability. Although Mufasa chuckles at his son’s excitement, he also reminds him of a vital truth: it’s not all about you. 1 Corinthians 10:24 reminds us, “No one should seek their own good, but the good of others.”

Being a king isn’t about satisfying your desires, and neither is being a Christian. Take a look at Jesus; He spent almost every waking moment of His 30-year ministry talking, healing, and teaching. He even washed His disciples’ feet. He’s the perfect example. Sacrifice yourself and serve others. Give up time, money, and energy to bless the people around you.

“He lives in you.” -Rafiki

Simba desperately wants to see his father, feeling lost without him. Rafiki tells Simba that even though he feels alone, he isn’t. 1 Corinthians 3:16 reminds us, “Do you not know that you are a temple of God and that the spirit of God dwells in you?”

Just because we can’t see or touch God doesn’t mean He isn’t there. He doesn’t interact with us as another person might because He isn’t a person. Still, His Spirit lives in us, empowering us to live bountiful, emboldened lives. When life feels impossible, know that you are never alone. He lives in you.

“The past can hurt. But the way I see it, you can either run from it or learn from it.” -Rafiki

Rafiki vibrantly demonstrates his point by swinging a stick at Simba’s head hard enough to leave a visible bump behind. However, his second swing only catches air as Simba ducks away. This tactic shows Simba that you can learn from the past, but you shouldn’t get lost in it. Move on from the past, but don’t run from it. There is a delicate balance here.

James 1:2-4 tells us, “Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.”

Our battles should make us stronger. If some past problem arises in the road ahead, don’t waste your time looking for a way around it. Instead, learn how to climb those walls. The next time you encounter them, they won’t seem as intimidating.

“You have forgotten who you are, and so forgotten me.” -Mufasa

We could trace all of Simba’s troubles at that moment to the intentional discarding of his identity. Running away from his past meant he was running from his father’s lessons.

Mufasa gave Simba all the tools he needed to step into his role and save his family from Scar and the hyenas. Still, Simba needed a reminder of who he was first. In Job 8:11-13, we read, “Can papyrus grow tall where there is no marsh? Can reeds thrive without water? While still growing and uncut, they wither more quickly than grass. Such is the destiny of all who forget God...”

It is alarmingly easy to forget that we are children of God. When the world extends shiny charms, we forget. We also forget when society pressures us to go with the flow. When storms come and threaten our comfort and safety, we forget. When we fall short, and the consequences overwhelm us, we forget.

Unfortunately, forgetting means throwing away the tools we need to traverse these problematic situations. God gave us His Word to guide us. If we remember that we belong to Him, we can walk confidently in that direction.

“Remember…” -Mufasa

This is the final word expressed in the movie. Simba conquered Scar and regained the Pride Lands, and he hears his father’s voice as he reaches the top of Pride Rock.

The Bible is filled with this command. God asks His people to remember who they are, who He is, and what He has done for them. He instructs them to build pillars and altars of remembrance, memorials for future generations.

1 Chronicles 16:11-12 says, “Look to the LORD and his strength; seek his face always. Remember the wonders he has done, his miracles, and the judgments he pronounced.”

Humans tend to be forgetful, especially concerning spiritual things, because we have an aggressive enemy taking truth from us. However, we must do all that we can to remember. Write it down, tape it to the bathroom mirror, and do what you must to hold on to who God is and what He has done for you.

Whatever form this story takes, it never gets old. It’s so much more than theater for children. The themes are ageless, stirring the hearts of all ages with powerful truths.

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