Reflections From The Lion King Movie

Promotional Image of The Lion King Movie

Have you seen the new Lion King movie? I went to see it with some members of my Church Fam two Saturdays ago. Since then, I have sought the time to sit down and write down my thoughts which have persistently nagged me to be shared with the world! 

What came at me?

We Easily Fall For Deception 

In Simba I saw myself and many human beings too. We are so naive and gullible. This is true of even people who seem guarded, tough, and firm in their convictions. Even such people have been or are being shaped by someone or something. They may seem to have a strong gate in place which prevents them from being easily influenced by new ideas, but this does not mean that ideas did not shape them before that gate was put in place.

We are easily shaped and guided. It makes sense because we were made to be guided and tethered. Once the connection to our Creator was lost through the fall, it was inevitable that we would hopelessly seek to have it filled in some way. 

It is interesting how easily Simba soaked up Scar’s lies and went on to live them out, endangering himself and others in the process. I need to be careful about who speaks into my life because it is more than likely that my actions will be shaped by what I hear.

Our Sense Of Imagination And Insatiable Curiosity 

The scene in which Simba finds himself in Scar’s lair, reminded me of the moment in the garden of Eden when the devil exploited the imagination of Eve and moved her to ask, could there be more for me?” as if the presence and love of God was not everything. 

Scar told Simba about the dark realm beyond the pride lands and capitalised on his gullibility to set in motion, a very difficult life for him and years of destruction for the Pride lands. Simba fell for it. 

I think what really appealed to Simba and made him listen to his uncle over his father, was that Scar seemed to give him more details unlike his Father who simply told him that the dark realm beyond the pride lands was a no-go. We can so easily place a premium on knowing, above trusting God and this is a big mistake. We need to humble ourselves and understand that God withholds and gives out of love. The details he has not given us, we don’t need to know. We just need to obey.

“The secret things belong to the Lord our God, but the things that are revealed belong to us and to our children forever, that we may do all the words of this law.”Deuteronomy 29:29

I recall the words of Jesus:

 “I have much more to say to you, more than you can now bear. But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all the truth. He will not speak on his own; he will speak only what he hears, and he will tell you what is yet to come.” John 16:12-13

As much as God withholds some knowledge from us for our good, he has promised to guide us through His Spirit. Trust.

We Are Stubborn Selective Listeners

Simba was aware of his Father’s instruction. In fact, with such a deep voice and imposing presence, Mufasa’s words must have been heard by Simba. Mufasa had told him never to go beyond the boundaries of the Pride Lands. This was a relationship he could trust and in which his identity and life was firmly rooted. Yet, he listened to Scar who harboured great hate for him and his father.

I have found that this is the same for me, when I’m not conscious to keep the truths of God before me and deliberately decide to obey them regardless of what else I hear. 

Two voices had spoken to Simba. Simba heard both but decided to listen to one. Brings to mind my many years of growing up in church and hearing truths preached to me, then stepping outside the walls of the church building and absorbing all sorts of messages from entertainment through the week. I was hearing a lot, but unfortunately kept making the deliberate decision to listen to what robbed me of peace, joy and life.

We are stubborn selective listeners. We need to be very conscious of this.

Lies Can Be Very Compelling

Scar had such a skewed view of life. His perspective condemned him to a life of bitterness, treachery and scheming. Yet, seductive lies were forged in the fires of his conflicted being. He was also skilled in serving them to unfortunate feasters. Even the hyenas were deceived by his vision of a Kingdom run by a Lion and Hyenas.

A lot of ideas, philosophies and movements exist today and they are very compelling. We have studied ourselves and managed to exploit the little we know about what deeply resonates with us. Also, advancement in our ability to communicate has given great prominence to appealing but destructive ideas which people have now anchored their lives on. 

Ever since the relationship between God and man was torn due to sin and the fall, Man became a victim of every idea that seemed wise. Across millennia and generations, all sorts of things have been worshipped: the sun, the stars, trees, stones, animals, myths, other human beings, you name it. Today, some of the things worshipped are ‘unrestrained freedom to do whatever you want’, sexual orientation, way of life, entertainment, political ideas, even ‘good causes’ such as those to save the environment and preserve animals. 

We are persistent in trying to carve out a sense of meaning out of things which will never give us meaning because we have listened to compelling lies.

“The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and knowledge of the Holy One is understanding.”Proverbs 9:10

God is the fount of Wisdom. Understanding comes from him.

Disobedience Will Destroy Us

Simba’s disobedience to Mufasa was a depiction of how I can often pave the way to my destruction through my disobedience. 

We want to know everything but what is most important is knowing the one in whom the knowledge of everything resides and not just that, but also the wisdom of how to live in the light of that knowledge.

Both Mufasa and Scar had great knowledge of the Pride Lands and beyond. But only Mufasa had the heart to guide Simba with love based on that knowledge. 

In the same way, only God seeks to guide us with love. I don’t need to know or understand everything. He does and that’s fine for me. His character and love are exceedingly sufficient for me. 

Credibility Of The Source

Scar was more descriptive about the dark realm. Perhaps, Simba took this to mean he could trust him. The devil deceives us by making us feel he’s letting us in on more than God has revealed to us. We are so puffed up with ‘knowledge’ and we put a premium on the ‘knowledge’ itself, not the credibility of its source. 

Forget what they are saying and study them. Who surpasses God in terms of credibility? 

False Teachers Are Lovable and Appealing

Two characters many people love are Timon and Pumbaa. They have a whole lot to say and most of it sounds nice and encouraging. They sing all the time, jump up and down, soothe your miseries with their good cheer and energy and give you hope. 

These guys told Simba the ‘circle of life’ wasn’t real. They said it was a straight line. The circle of life narrative was not favourable to them so they constructed an alternative one which would never be real. 

They might have been able to tame a lion and make him eat worms, but when Nala literally pounced on the scene, the delusion was shattered to pieces. Every other lion conforms to the ‘circle of life’ theory. They will kill and eat without apology.

Think of their song: “it means no worries, for the rest of your days…” How? Lol. Come on man. They indoctrinated Simba with this feel-good song that he sang it to maturity and even had his own ad-libs to it! 

Good vibes and motivational quotes may get you through moments but they will never sort you out. You need steadfast hope and that hope is only found in Jesus. Not a watered-down or misrepresented Jesus but the real Jesus.

One of the many issues which plagued the church from the beginning is this subject of false teachers. Today, fingers are being pointed back and forth, some preachers have been constantly confronted etc. Some Christians even have platforms and YouTube channels solely dedicated to calling out false teachers and so on.

This is my stand from which I give this advice: With a firm hold on the inerrant Word of God (The Bible) as the standard, test everything and be careful what you listen to. You might have grown deep affection for a preacher and taken to their ministry, however if a trusted Christian brother or sister warns you about them, please carefully consider their warning. False Teachers may be lovable but will gradually detach your hold on truth. 

Condemnation, Guilt and Shame 

One of the scenes that has always left me seething inside, is when Simba lies beside his dead father and is robbed of the chance to grieve him as the evil Scar comes and blames Simba, implanting in his mind guilt for his Father’s death and makes him flee from the pride lands in shame and fear.

Shame can banish us to a faraway land of constant regret with condemnation hanging over us like a cloud. What a joyous liberation to be saved by Jesus Christ who has borne our shame and guilt and taken the punishment we deserve!

Often times in my life as a Christian, I have fallen really bad. I have done things which I regret to this day and which were utterly terrible in the light of my knowledge of Jesus’s saving grace and his presence in my life. I have often let my fall drive me away from God with shame and guilt crippling me from running to him in repentance as I did the very first time I became an adopted son through Jesus! During such times, I have battled thoughts such as “are you sure you are a new creation in Christ Jesus? You can’t possibly be. Look at what you’ve done.”

Don’t let your shame keep you from the One who does not condone your sin, yet loves you enough to cover you with his grace, forgive and accept you back to himself. Sing with me a song far greater than Hakuna Matata:

When Satan tempts me to despair,
And tells me of the guilt within,
Upward I look, and see him there
Who made an end of all my sin.

Because a sinless Savior died,
My sinful soul is counted free;
For God, the Just, is satisfied
To look on Him and pardon me.

Before The Throne Of God Above by Charitie Bancroft / Vikki Cook

Identity, Purpose & Responsibility

One of the most tragic things that grieves my heart today is seeing people created in the image of God, fearfully and wonderfully made, become enslaved to foolish notions and ideas which have demeaned them and stripped them of their God-given value.

Look at Simba, a full-grown Lion eating worms, singing Hakuna Matata over and over, wandering the jungle casually with Timon and Pumba when all the while, life defining changes have occurred where he should be.

Even when Nala and eventually Rafiki came to confront him about his identity and responsibility, Simba’s denial was so strong. I think coupled with the shame and guilt of his father’s death, Simba also feared having to confront the weight of responsibility. This is the same for many people today who deny the existence of God. It is a shirking of the responsibility that comes with having to answer to someone who will hold you accountable for your deeds.

It is a great privilege to know who gives me meaning. God does. The true Living God who sent the exact representation of his being – Jesus Christ to save me. I am a human being fearfully and wonderfully made in the divine image of God the Supreme Being. My life is tethered to his life and my identity, life and meaning are rooted in him. I am responsible to Him and he helps me remain responsible through His Spirit, when I depend on Him.

Thank You For Reading!

I appreciate that you took time out to share these reflections with me. I am happy to point you in the direction of a wonderful article I read on, where Greg Morse shared great thoughts on the Lion King movie as well! It is really good, you should read it.

Any thoughts on what you just read? Please leave a comment below:

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