One of the summer’s most anticipated movies, the live-action remake of Disney’s The Lion King, is in theaters now, and for many of us, it’s a chance to relive our childhood. For others, it’s a chance to share something special from our youth with our own children. And for some, it’s an opportunity to hear a story we’ve never heard before.
The same is true for our faith. Some of us are continuing a tradition that we’ve known since we were kids. Some of us are sharing these faith traditions with our families. And for some of us, the story of Jesus is brand new.
Whether one, or both, of these stories are new or a tale as old as time for us, there are several faith lessons we can learn from this Disney favorite. One of those lessons is that we can find our identity in Jesus. Warning- spoilers ahead!
We can find our identity in Jesus.
Simba runs away as a young lion cub after believing a lie that he is responsible for his father, Mufasa’s, death. He leaves everything behind- his family, friends, and his future as the king of his home, Pride Rock. Along the way, he hides behind the care-free lifestyle offered by his new friends, Timon and Pumbaa. While the time Simba spends with these new friends in the jungle is a necessary part of his journey, ultimately this life is not the one he was made for.
After running for a while, Simba encounters Rafiki, a baboon who once knew Simba’s father. Rafiki asks him, “Who are you?” and Simba responds, “I thought I knew. Now I’m not so sure.” Then Rafiki tells Simba that his father is still alive and leads him to a pond to look for him, but all he sees is his own reflection. “He lives in you,” Rafiki tells him. Just then, the skies open up, and Mufasa is revealed to Simba through the heavens.
“You have forgotten me,” Mufasa says. “You have forgotten who you are, and so have forgotten me. Look inside yourself Simba. You are more than what you have become.”
Many things try to define our lives. School, work, money, past mistakes- you name it. But at the end of the day, Jesus calls us by name and empowers us to live a new life of love, humility, and peace. He lives within each of us, and because of that, we are more than who the world says we are.
To find out how this newly discovered identity transforms Simba, and how our identity in Jesus can transform us, read Faith Lessons from The Lion King: Part 3.