A few years ago, I decided to write a post on lessons I learned from The Lion King. Click here to check out that post. Today, I am adding an addendum of 4 more things that I have since learned from the beloved story, but instead from the remake (the 2019 version). I realize that there are mixed opinions about this version, however, I happen to like it, and I noticed some more lessons that I had missed before. Here’s what I noticed:
1. You can still learn from the secular world, but be careful.
Simba was taught by Mufasa that we all live in the great circle of life, where what we do has consequences. But when Simba left Pride Rock and met Timon and Pumbaa, he was taught a new lesson: look out for yourself. “If the world turns its back on you, you turn your back on the world,” Timon says.
I can see how this mindset is appealing for someone who craves security. You want to protect yourself from the things that have hurt you, right? Of course. However, regardless of its appeal, turning your back on the world will not bring you long-term comfort or fulfillment. It will, however, leave you cynical and lonely, no matter how beautiful the scenery may be, and how many “bugs” you’re able to eat in the meantime.
2. Nala reminds us to not get distracted.
Nala left Pride Rock to find help after Scar and his henchmen hyenas scoured the land of every living thing. As we know, she ended up finding Simba… alive!
I can’t imagine being told as a kid that my best friend died in an accident. I would be so heartbroken. Likewise, I’m not sure Nala would have fully recovered. For her to find Simba again would be the same kind of joy of Martha and Mary seeing Lazarus alive again, or Mary and Mary finding Jesus alive after his crucifixion.
And, as expected for two betrothed lions, there’s an immediate attraction between the two of them. The love was felt that night. Nala though, didn’t let that stop her from the main goal.
She was there to find help and go back to Pride Rock, where she belonged. Simba, too, was meant to come back. The fact that Simba didn’t want to come back to Pride Rock didn’t change that goal.
Likewise, we need to remember our goal. Sometimes we have a friend (or romantic partner) who’s not walking in the way of the Lord. Our job is to encourage them to come back, but not to be drawn away from Christ ourselves. Nala was tempted by the beauty of Simba’s living conditions, but she knew she could not stay. Remember to come home.
3. Don’t underestimate Satan’s power.
Despite Mufasa and Scar being brothers, they were very little alike. Mufasa looked out for others while Scar looked out only for himself. When it came down to it, Scar allowed his jealousy for Mufasa and his birthright to poison his mind. And while Mufasa recognized this in Scar, he still loved Scar and had hoped that Scar would come around and be his friend. If he didn’t have this hope, he wouldn’t have been hurt that Scar didn’t attend the ceremony of presenting Simba.
It’s hard to know what to do when someone close to you has become inundated with jealousy and negativity. Do you try your best to reform them? Do you remove them from your life?
Mufasa chose to keep Scar around in Pride Rock, which I see as his undoing. It’s not a far stretch to think of Scar as Satan. Scar used his position in Pride Rock to poison Simba from an early age, from encouraging Simba to go to places he was commanded not to go (sound familiar to the serpent tempting Eve in Genesis 3, anyone?), or convincing Simba that he was at fault for the death of his father.
Scar created a place of shame and regret within Simba’s heart that Simba, as son of Mufasa, should never have had.
4. Satan only has as much power as you give him.
Point three leads into this next point. Scar had the power he had because it was given to him, although perhaps unwittingly.
Scar had such an influence on Simba because Simba allowed it. He let himself believe the lie that Mufasa’s death was his fault.
And yet, if we reflect back on that scene, we’ll realize that Simba accepted that lie because he didn’t have all the facts. Simba thought that: 1) His little “roar” caused a stampede in the gorge; 2) His father saved him from the stampede; 3) Mufasa climbed up the face of the cliff; 4) Mufasa fell to his death.
But what Simba didn’t know was that Scar was plotting to take over the kingdom, that Scar caused the stampede, and that Scar threw Mufasa off the cliff in Mufasa’s weakest moment. Scar kept that information from Simba. Scar knew Simba wasn’t at fault. But what Scar needed was for Simba to be ashamed enough to leave Pride Rock, and then be killed in his weakest moment. Satan will bend the lie to look like truth, and that’s exactly how Scar became King.
If Simba hadn’t have left in the first place—if he didn’t believe his uncle Scar’s lies—Scar could not have become King. It was only by Simba’s “stepping down” that Scar gained any real power.
Likewise, Satan can’t have any real power unless you “step down” from your place as God’s child. That’s why he lies to you. That’s why he creates shame, or distrust, or a lack of harmony within you and your relationships. He wants you to give up in defeat, in anger, in hopelessness. He wants you to feel lost. Because without you standing firm to God’s love, Satan can control the world. Don’t let him.