The other day, I had the opportunity to watch the classic Disney movie, “The Lion King.” It was awesome!
I sat in front of the big screen full of anticipation, like a little girl all over again. As a visual artist, I love movies. But as a seeker of God’s HeArt, I enjoy discovering His story within stories. I appreciate where He can enter in and redeem a broken situation—overall life.
The Lion King is one of those movies; stories that remind us of who God is and what He has done for us. It provides us with a tender display of God’s heart for His children. It offers the viewer a picture of the hope and future any girl, boy, woman, or man who turns to Christ can have in Him.
In the beginning of the movie, we meet the head Lion of all the lions in his land, Mufasa. His thick hair and strong roar seem to carry the weight of the winds from one territory to another. He is good, wise, and protective of his family and kingdom, a father to his only son, Simba and all of those who are under his care.
One day, Mufasa shares his plan for the future of their land with Simba, “everything the light touches is our kingdom.” When Simba hears about his father’s promise, he gets excited about all that he can do as a king. Mufasa precedes to advise him, “a true king searches for what he can give.” He desires that Simba grow up to be a humble leader of the lions who will be placed under his rulership. He wants him to serve the lions in his land and gently meet their needs.
God, the Father, calls His children to Himself and then shapes them to become servant leaders in His Kingdom. God sees who we can be in Christ, not who we were or what we’ve done in our past. He tells us to lay down our lives for others as Jesus laid down our lives for us on the cross.
Mufasa and Simba’s conversation ends with Mufasa commanding Simba to stay away from the shadowy areas of the land, where a large group of wicked hyenas live. He warns him that this area is dangerous. In the same manner, God told Adam and Eve to not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. If they did, they would surely die. There are people and places God warns us to stay away from and avoid because they’ll only lead us to death. The world is filled with deception—people and places that are not good influences in our lives. Perhaps, they don’t look like hyenas, but deep down inside, they are, and they will attempt to eat us alive.
What took Adam and Eve down is what also took Simba down.
In the movie, we meet Simba’s uncle, Scar. His stale and bony structure communicate the embodiment of death to the viewer. He is ruthless—jealous, malicious and selfish. When he sees Simba, Scar tricks him into visiting the shadows. Even though it seems like Scar is on Simba’s side, he is not! He wants to kill Simba. He even convinces the hyenas who live in the shadows to murder Simba. Like Scar, Satan is evil. As the enemy of mankind, Satan prowls around like a roaring lion seeking someone whom he may devour (1 Peter 5:8). He wants us dead. He is the ruler of the dark principalities in the heavenly places; he is behind every lie and sin spread in the world. The Bible says that we need to be on guard against Satan’s schemes. As Mufasa’s words to Simba would have protected him from sin, God’s Word protects us when we know and apply it to our lives.
Knowing Mufasa’s command, Simba allows his pride to get in the way of their relationship. Simba decides to deliberately disobey Mufasa’s warning and visits the shadows. Surrounded by hyenas who want to eat him, Simba nearly dies. Because of his great love for his son, Mufasa saves Simba from the hyenas just in time. This scenario is not uncommon to the child of God. How many times do we allow our pride to get in the way of our relationship with God? Instead of trusting in God’s Word, we trust in ourselves. We end up in a situation that is not God’s will for us, and then beg God for His mercy. No matter how foolish we were in our decision to disobey God, somehow, God meets us with compassion. He saves us from death.
After he saves Simba from the hyenas, Mufasa disciplines him for his disobedience, and warns him once again to stay away from the shadows. They laugh together like a father and son would almost immediately after their conversation. We too need to be disciplined by God—He teaches us lessons during this process. When we are being chastened, we need to trust that God is being like a true loving father would be with his child. I know I need it. God’s discipline has taught me to depend on my Heavenly Father rather than on myself. I have learned over and over again that I know nothing, and God knows everything. I need to listen to Him and trust Him. Most importantly, I need to obey His Word.
Eventually, Simba is deceived by Scar again. Simba listens to Scar’s advice to practice his roar that he’ll “need” as a king, in a dangerous area. Essentially, Simba allowed his pride to get in the way of his relationship with Mufasa. As he did in the past, Mufasa risks his life to save Simba. This time though, as he is rescuing his son, Scar kills Mufasa. This is the ultimate climax of the movie. None of the viewers, I’m sure would have wanted Mufasa to die. He is the good One—the head, king, and father of Simba. He did not deserve to die. Scar did.
Though He did not deserve to die, the King of Kings, Jesus Christ died on the cross for all our sins. He died so that we might have eternal life in Him. No matter how many mistakes we have made in our lives, we can cry out to Jesus and He is faithful to save us from the powers of sin and darkness. Whenever we pray for God’s help, He shows up for us. Jesus never condemns us when we turn to Him. He sacrificed Himself for us so that we might be set free from the power of the wicked one. God’s love incarnate is available to anyone who calls on His name.
Simba mistakenly believes that his father, Mufasa’s death was all his fault and shamefully runs away from the scene. For years, Simba is gone, away from his home and far from the lions in his family. During this time, Scar takes over the kingdom and oppresses the lions living on the land. Simba’s mother, Sarabi is even tempted by Scar to become his queen. Disgusted by him, Sarabi refuses his offer. Similarly, we might feel guilty for all our past sins. We may have committed horrible acts before God. In the meantime, Satan tries to take control over the hearts of our families, friends, and communities. Darkness attempts to loom over the sinner like a heavy, stubborn cloud that will not go away. We must continue to trust in God’s faithfulness and pray for His deliverance. Do not give into the enemy’s temptations to settle for anything less than God’s best for you and your families, friends, and communities.
The reminder we need, and Simba needed is a revelation of who we are in Christ. If you have received Jesus Christ as your personal Lord and Savior and repented from your sins, you are forgiven by God. We are new creations in Christ, old things have passed away. Behold all things are new (2 Corinthians 5:17). You’re now on a journey to become the person God has designed you to be for His glory and honor in His Kingdom. Like Simba, you are destined for a brighter future, to serve God and people who need His grace. You are a child of the light in the Kingdom of the Son he loves. Who you are now and what God has for you in the future has nothing to do with your past and everything to do with who He is and what He has done for you on the cross.
Simba is reminded of who he is by Rafiki, the one who anointed him to be king when he was a small cub. Simba doesn’t know who he is until Rafiki leads him to look at his reflection in a lake. After not seeing anything special in the water, Rafiki lovingly tells him, “Look harder. You see, he lives in you.” When Rafiki reveals to Simba that his father is alive in him, Simba remembers who he is—his son!
The Holy Spirit leads us into all truth. Though Jesus died for our sins, He is risen and alive in us! We must believe and remember that we are who we are because Jesus is the Almighty I AM. He is God. He is the light of the world. We are sons and daughters of the Most High, the King of Kings. When we do remember who we are in Christ, we can reflect Him to others—His image to the world. Like Simba was told to take his place in the circle of life, we must take our place in the Kingdom of God. The world needs God’s love, grace, mercy, and forgiveness. We can choose to be set apart and be His vessels for His glory.
When Simba finally realizes who his father made him to be at this time, Simba returns home to his family. It is deadly when he arrives. The entire land is desolate and lifeless, not at all a reflection of who he knew his father to be growing up. Though Scar tries to maintain ownership over the land, Simba stands up to him. Simba reveals to him that his father has made him king and Scar needs to leave. Scar laughs in his face, and even attempts to kill him. The nerve of Scar! Throughout this battle, Simba remains true to his new character as a king. He faces Scar head on—he is courageous, honest, and righteous. In the end, the truth is revealed. The lions and hyenas discover that it was really Scar who killed Mufasa, not Simba. The lions stay by Simba’s side, and the hyenas destroy Scar. Simba becomes king, and their entire land is restored. The light touches everything around him.
We also face battles in our lives. Sometimes, we don’t want to deal with them. But the truth is—we must. Like Simba, we need to face the enemy head on in our families, schools and communities. In the dark, we wonder if God is with us, fighting on our behalf. We question whether He sees our efforts, and the longings of our hearts. We doubt whether or not He hears our prayers. While we are imperfect, God’s character never changes. We need to trust in who He says He is and what He promises us in His Word, in every situation, circumstance, and battle. In the end, we know who has won the ultimate battle against Satan—Jesus Christ. He defeated him on the cross, and the enemy is a loser, forever. We know the truth will be revealed. Justice will stand. The light will shine.
In His-Story, Goodness prevails.
Like a little girl all over again sitting in the theater, I thanked Jesus for His life in me. As Simba must have felt towards his father when he recognized that he was alive in him, I want Jesus to be exalted in and through me. I want others to see more of Him, in my reflection and in every place He allows me to step foot on here on earth. In this manner, we are reminded to pray: Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name. Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.
What does He want to do in and through you today? Tomorrow? Or in the future? Whatever it is, we must hear His call to take our place in the Kingdom. Be a light in the darkness. Meet a need with what He’s given you. Tell the world the good news. Pray for a friend. Fight on your knees. See as He sees. Walk as He walked. Live as He lived right where He has placed you.
7 Promises for your Creative HeArt:
Now this is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom You have sent (John 17:3).
For we know that since Christ was raised from the dead, he cannot die again; death no longer has mastery over him (Romans 6:9).
What, then, shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? (Romans 8:31).
But the Lord said to him, “Go, for he is a chosen vessel of Mine to bear My name before Gentiles, kings, and the children of Israel”(Acts 9:15).
So he sent and brought him in. Now he was ruddy, with bright eyes, and good-looking. And the Lord said, “Arise, anoint him; for this is the one!” (1 Samuel 16:12).
You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden (Matthew 5:14).
For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them (Ephesians 2:10).