Growing up in the 90’s, I experienced the Disney classics. People have debated before – but I don’t think its much of a conversation: The Lion King, is the all-time best Disney movie. Period.We still sing the songs and make references to them in our conversations – even though the movie is old. It’s hard to believe last week, The Lion King turned 23 years old. I actually couldn’t wait to say “hakuna mattata” when I got to Nairobi last month. It was the only Swahili I knew, and I think all of Kenya heard me say it before I left.
But why is any of this on a spiritual blog? Well – it’s message has not faded: good & truth prevail. Even if depression sets in, even if you feel rejected, even if you’ve been lied to and feel like you have no place in the kingdom…do you know you’re the rightful heir? You are the prince, and princess, in the Kingdom of your Father.
How’s that for spiritual?
Let’s recall some of the movie with Biblical glasses. Simba was a cute little guy at the start. But what he experienced can change any of our personalities. The past alters our outlook on life. “Be prepared.”
He was abused by his uncle, and victim of lies. People! Satan’s fight has remained the same…he is the deceiver. He will pull us from the Truth, and cause our self-image to fall. This is always the start: a simple lie.
Then came guilt. He felt he was to blame for a crime, and even worse, that his whole tribe wouldn’t accept him. Ever feel this way? Like the whole church wont accept me because of my sin? His guilt led to feelings of rejection. What is the lie that you’re stuck believing? What is the view you think God has of you? Guilt can drive us to the ground. Guilt is Satan’s punch – that can even knock us into isolation. That’s how Simba responded – he ran away.Isolation my friends, is dangerous. When we are alone, we can’t break past our negative emotions…and the negativity multiplies. These feelings remove any bit of heavenly joy in us and imprison us in depression. Yes. Depression is real. Depression is everywhere. It happened to Elijah (See 1 Kings 19). And, it happened to Simba. Elijah was hopeless and alone as he ran away. It almost killed Simba.
Now…If by this point you realize “I haven’t watched the Lion King”, please, stop reading and go watch the movie. You’re doing yourself (and all of us) a serious disservice.Next, there was serious pivot and growth in Simba’s life. Why? 1 word – friends. Timon and Pumba came into his life and things turned around. Even if they weren’t the smartest, they had qualities all of us should seek in friends. I know…you’re thinking too much for a Disney movie? They were there for Simba and saved his life, pulling him out of the desert – the spiritual dryness where he ran to his death. They taught him to have “no worries” – leading him to live apart from his guilt (eventually). For you and I – this is trusting the Lord. They encouraged him to go take his spot back when they realized he was the king-to-be. We need friends that will “lead us throughout the way into the kingdom” (Liturgy of St Basil). Lastly, they were brave. They told him the truth, and supported his recovery to his old life.
What type of people do you surround yourself with? Are they pulling you up? Are they saving you? Are they encouraging you towards the life with Christ? If it’s not a FIRM “yes”, then get rid of them. Don’t just trust me, trust Simba. He was able to grow when the negative influences were removed from his life.
Simba had a second chance. His confidence grew and he was able to take on his enemy. Satan wants us to die in our depression and isolation. Scar, his uncle, thought Simba was dead – and was surprised to see Simba alive. Resurrection? Maybe. See my brother and sister, Simba changed his view. It was a new philosophy, not something new in him physically. Simba was the same, but his mindset changed. This is what the Holy Spirit can do when you and I allow Him to work in us. Like the apostles – they were fearless going to preach the Truth. Simba went, spoke the truth, and was victorious. Believe it first, then see it through.
Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, 39 nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 8:37-39 NKJV)
This is St Paul’s new viewpoint. Remember, he too experienced this change of mindset and was forever different. He KNEW that nothing can pull him apart from Christ’s love. This is the power of the resurrection. This guys and gals is the “Circle of (the Spiritual) Life” — we are able to live on, even if we’ve been deceived, even if we’ve fallen. You and I today can remember #1thingisneeded – only HIS LOVE. You are loved, come back to him. You are loved, live for Him. You are loved, say goodbye to depression. You are loved, bid farewell to the lies. You are loved, there is always a second chance. Simba came back and took his (heavenly) inheritance, and assumed his rightful place in the kingdom.
Don’t you want to live the same way?