The Lion King Movie: From A Christian Perspective

Four days ago I watched The Lion King with my siblings at the cinemas. It’s a childhood Disney favourite of mine and this movie was a remake of the original animation. I was excited, nostalgic and couldn’t help but sing along to some of the songs.

But as I watched, I couldn’t help but see how different characters are symbolic and how different scenes relate to the Christian journey. Here are some thoughts that I would love to share with you all and hopefully, you see these things too.

1. Forgiven

In the opening scene, the infamous ‘Circle of Life’ began to play and you see all the animals making their way to Pride Rock for the christening of Simba, the new lion cub. A baboon named Rafiki marks Simba’s forehead and lifts him up for everyone to see.

Simba begins to grow up and he’s now a child. We see him excited to know all about what it’s like to rule the Pride Lands and Mufasa (his father) teaches him about kingship. One day, after an episode of disobedience and rebellion by going to Elephant graveyard, Scar (Simba’s uncle) convinces Simba that one way to impress his dad is by the sound of his roar. Simba still feeling guilty and wanting to please his dad, follows through with Scar’s idea.

The first thing I want to say is this, you don’t need to prove yourself to God. Mufasa had already forgiven Simba but Simba still felt like he needed to do more. God proved his love for us that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us (Romans 5:8). You can’t do anything more to try and prove to God that you are worthy. If you’ve confessed your sin, you are forgiven (1 John 1:8-9). The enemy may lie to you and convince you that you’re not and that you need to please God, and you’re trying to offer up your own sacrifice when Christ is the only sacrifice on your behalf that you need.

Hebrews 10:11-12 says,

And every priest stands daily at his service, offering repeatedly the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins. 12 But when Christ had offered for all time a single sacrifice for sins, he sat down at the right hand of God,

Jesus Christ was the only sacrifice that was needed to take away the sins of the world. And we forget that simple truth in our attempt to earn our righteousness.

When Jesus spread his arms on the cross, He said “It is finished”, do you believe that?

As far as the east is from the west,
so far does he removes our transgressions from us.
– Psalm 103:12

Like Simba, who was hard on himself even though his father has already forgiven him. We can find ourselves doing the same thing!

Sometimes we are too hard on ourselves. We camp in condemnation and remind ourselves of things that God has already promised that He has forgotten. He has made us white as snow (Isaiah 1:18), His mercies are new every morning (Lamentations 3:22), He has wiped our slate clean and remembers our sins no more (Hebrews 8:12).

God has forgiven us. So if you’re reading this and you still don’t feel forgiven then I want to reassure you that God has forgiven you. Perhaps, you’re struggling to believe that you’ve been forgiven.

2. Identity

After the tragic death of his father, Scar instructs Simba to run away and never return. Simba, not knowing any better, obeys without realizing that his uncle is after the throne.

Years pass and Simba has grown up, his childhood friend Nala finds him and wants him to come home. Nala who is unaware of Simba’s past becomes frustrated at Simba’s unwillingness to reclaim his throne. After all, he is the child of Mufasa and he is the rightful heir.

The same night, Rafiki (the one who christened Simba) leads him through the jungle and asks him a question “Do you know who you are?” Simba, who is confused, replies “I thought I knew who I was”

I want to ask you the same question that Rafiki asked Simba,

“Do you know who you are?”

Do you know that you are a child of God? We’ve all gone through moments where we question our identity in Christ. I’ve been there too! The temptation to find your identity in the world, in people or to figure out who you are apart from Christ will only bring more confusion.

That’s why it’s so important that we continue to read the word of God.

Jesus was announced as the Son of God when He was baptized in Matthew 3 and yet, the devil questions him in the wilderness “If you are the Son of God” in Matthew 4. Like seriously, only one chapter later and the devil already wants to plant seeds of unbelief.

Most of us (myself included) have fallen into that trap. God has shown us who we are in His word or given us a personal word for our lives and when the devil comes to test the truth that should have been treasured in our heart, we unknowingly throw it away.

Instead of responding to the enemy’s lies with God’s truth which has authority and power – we give in to the lie. If we can be honest, if we were in the wilderness and the enemy questioned our identity, we would have turned those stones into bread when we should have rebuked the enemy.

Jesus didn’t go back and forth having a conversation with the devil, He responded with “It is written”.

The same way that Scar knows that Simba is Mufasa’s son, Rafiki knows that Simba is Mufasa’s son, Nala knows that Simba is the son of the King – Simba needed to come to that realization himself.

The truth is, no matter how many people tell you who you are, share scriptures with you or how many times God speaks to you or the revelations you receive – it won’t make a difference until you believe it for yourself.

Do you believe God’s Word?

Jesus talks about the parable of the sower and how different soils represent the hearts of men (Matthew 13). A bird stole the word, another seed fell on rocky soil, the thorns of life choked the word and the last seed fell on good soil.

When God speaks through His word, is it easy for the enemy to steal the truth from your heart? What’s choking His word in your heart? When you read His word, are you meditating on it? Is the seed of God’s Word travelling down and developing roots in your heart or is it just surface level?

3. Condemnation

When Simba returns to claim the throne, Scar brings up the death of Simba’s father to turn others against him. As I watched this, it reminded me of how the devil likes to bring up our past, whether it was a mistake we made, an addiction we’re struggling with or sin that God has assured us that He’s forgiven us – Satan is called the accuser for a reason.

“Now the salvation, and the power, and the kingdom (dominion, reign) of our God, and the authority of His Christ have come; for the accuser of our [believing] brothers and sisters has been thrown down [at last], he who accuses them and keeps bringing charges [of sinful behaviour] against them before our God day and night. 11 And they overcame and conquered him because of the blood of the Lamb and because of the word of their testimony, for they did not love their life and renounce their faith even when faced with death.
– Revelations 12:10-11

The devil will continue to accuse us and bring up charges against us to keep us in bondage. We were dead in our sin but by the grace of God, we received salvation. We’ve been made alive in Jesus and it says that every debt that stood against us was cancelled and nailed to the Cross (Colossians 2:13-14)

It tells us that they overcame the devil and conquered him because of the blood of the Lamb, Jesus Christ who died on the cross. The blood of Jesus covers us and through him, we are holy and blameless (Colossians 1:21-22).

And also by the word of their testimony. Our testimony is powerful and it shows people the transformative power of God. It points to Jesus who saves and delivers.

I’m not saying that we should be ignorant of our past. But we shouldn’t be ignorant of God’s Word or ignorant of the devices of the devil.

If we don’t read the Word we will continue to live our lives blinded by the deception of the enemy. Like Simba who ran, we can do the same thing and run away instead of facing the devil head-on with the Word of God. Every time the devil came to tempt while Jesus was in the wilderness, Jesus responded with Word, “It is written”.

The devil will condemn you, will want to oppress you or bring negative thoughts but it tells us in Romans 8:1 says,

Therefore there is now no condemnation [no guilty verdict, no punishment] for those who are in Christ Jesus [who believe in Him as personal Lord and Saviour].

The devil may question your salvation but it tells us in Romans 10:9-10,

“because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 For with the heart, one believes and is justified, and with the mouth, one confesses and is saved.”

People may remind you of who you used to be but 2 Corinthians 5:17 says,

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.

As Christians, we need to believe God’s truth over our lives because we have an enemy, the Father of Lies, the devourer, the god of this world that seeks to steal, kill and destroy.

Until we realise that the weapon we yield is mighty, a sword in our spiritual armour (Eph 6:17), we are always going to be defeated without even knowing that we have the victory through Jesus Christ. Christ defeated the devil, death has lost its sting and He has given us authority over the powers of the enemy (Luke 10:19).

I have so many favourite scenes and other things I could write, but one scene that stood out to me was when Simba looked up to the night sky and his father spoke to him. Mufasa reaffirmed his son’s identity. Rafiki tells Simba that his father’s spirit lives inside.

The same way that God has promised His children that He will never leave us nor forsake us (Hebrews 13:8). We are not alone. We have the Helper (John 14:26), the Holy Spirit, dwelling inside of us who convicts, teaches, comforts and guides us.

God bless,

2 thoughts on “The Lion King Movie: From A Christian Perspective

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