Last night, Dan and I went and saw the Lion King Broadway show. If you haven’t seen this show, you need to put it on your bucket list now. “Incredible” honestly doesn’t seem to be high enough praise for how spectacular the show was. The set and costumes were such a spectacle and there were at least ten times that I audibly said “oh wow”. I didn’t want the show to end.
The Broadway show told the same Disney story that many of us fell in love with in 1994. If you don’t know the story, it all starts with a lion cub being born. Simba is the future heir to the throne, and he just can’t wait to be king. Simba’s father, Mufasa, is a wise king loved by all in Pride Rock. He protects the kingdom well, and loves his son fiercely. However, Mufasa has a brother, Scar, who is jealous. He will never be king, and he is angry. Simba is a typical little boy, full of mischief and always looking for adventure and Scar takes advantage of that sweet little boy.
Scar sets a plan into motion to kill Mufasa, so he can take control of the kingdom. Scar’s plan is done in a way that makes Simba feel guilty for his father’s death. When Simba asks Scar what to do, Scar tells Simba to run. Scar makes Simba believe no one will understand what he has done, and he will never be accepted back into Pride Rock.
So Simba runs to the jungle, a place he was never meant to live. He makes friends he was never meant to have. At first, Simba feels safe in the jungle. However, as he grows he begins to feel restless. He’s always looking for more, and He doesn’t know who He is.
Friends, I love the Lion King, but the truth found in the story never hit me until last night in that theater. The Bible is full of so many scriptures that tell us, we are the children of God.
“And I will be your Father, and you will be my sons and daughters, says the Lord Almighty.”
2 Corinthians 6:18
“So you have not received a spirit that makes you fearful slaves. Instead, you received God’s Spirit when he adopted you as his own children. Now we call him, “Abba, Father.”
“But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God…”
“See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are! The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know Him.”
1 John 3:1
However, God didn’t stop at just calling us His children. He also called us His heirs.
“And because we are his children, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, prompting us to call out, “Abba, Father.” Now you are no longer a slave but God’s own child. And since you are his child, God has made you his heir.”
Just like Scar hated Simba, there is one who hates us. Our enemy wants us to fail. The first description of our enemy is found in Genesis 3. The bible tells us the enemy is “cunning”. The word cunning is defined as “having or showing skill in achieving one’s ends by deceit or evasion”. The very first words the enemy speaks in the Bible are “Did God really say?” (Genesis 3:1). Since then, the enemy has been lying to us. Telling us we aren’t good enough. We aren’t worthy. We are useless. So many lies making us doubt our Father’s love. Making us doubt what our Father has promised us. Making us doubt who we are.
Just like Simba, many of us have ran. We have spent seasons in places we didn’t belong with friends we were never meant to be with. Maybe it was places in the open…. bars, strip clubs or the beds of people we weren’t married to. Or maybe it was secret places…. chat rooms or pornography websites. Maybe our friends were living and breathing, people who were bad influences on us. Or maybe it was silent “friends”… eating disorders, depression, self hatred or anxiety.
While we were running, we quickly forgot who we are. We forgot that we are children of God. We forgot that we were heirs. We forgot all the promises that were ours. We were restless and searching. Until something happens.
In the Lion King, Simba ran into an old friend, Rafiki. This crazy old friend, reminded Simba of who his father was. With some tough love, Rafiki reminded Simba who he is by pointing him back to who His Father was. In the Broadway show, when Rafiki was reminding Simba who his father was, she sang a song called “He lives In You”. The words of this chorus go like this:
He lives in you
He lives in me
He watches over
Everything we see
Into the water
Into the truth
In your reflection
He lives in you
He lives in you
This entire scene had me in tears. Simba was never going to find himself in that jungle. His identity was found when he remembered who his Father was. Simba needed a friend to remind him. Friends, I can’t say it enough. We are not meant to do this life alone. We need people around us to point us back to our Father. People who remind us who we are. People who remind us what God said. Just like Simba, our identity is found in our Father. Because of Him we are:
- Accepted: “So we praise God for the glorious grace he has poured out on us who belong to his dear Son.” Ephesians 1:6
- Chosen: But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light;” 1 Peter 2:9
- Fully Known: “You have searched me, Lord, and you know me, You know when I sit and when I rise; you perceive my thoughts from afar. You discern my going out and my lying down; you are familiar with all my ways. Before a word is on my tongue you, Lord, know it completely. You hem me in behind and before, and you lay your hand upon me. Such knowledge is too wonderful for me, too lofty for me to attain.” Psalm 139: 1-5
- Free: “So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.” John 8:36
- Forgiven: “I am writing to you, little children, because your sins are forgiven for his name’s sake.” 1 John 2:12
- Justified and Redeemed: “But they are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus.” Romans 3:24
- A New Creation: “So then, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; what is old has passed away–look, what is new has come.” 2 Corinthians 5:17
The list could go on for pages and pages. The truth is that God has told us everything we need to know about ourselves. We don’t have to look very far to find the answers, we just need to look at Him.
After Simba remembered who his Father was, he ran back home, saved Pride Rock, and became king. When he finally remembered who he was, and did the thing he was created to do, it changed everything. Ephesians 2:10 says this:
For we are his workmanship, having been created in Christ Jesus for good works that God prepared beforehand so we may do them.
The truth is, when we know who we are, it doesn’t just change everything for us, it changes everything for everyone around us. We have a choice, are we going to keep running – living in places we were never meant to be – or are we going to go back to our Pride Rock and change the world? He has gone before us and prepared the way, all we have to do is walk in His footsteps.