I present to you my third (and possibly last, but don’t hold me to it) Disney-themed post. If you’ve been following my blog, you’ll know that I published two other Disney-themed posts: Cars and The Lion King.
If you haven’t read them yet, I encourage you to do so. I pray that these three posts can help provide conversation guides with your children as you watch the movies together, and I pray that the faith-based takeaways can draw your and their hearts closer to God.
So, why Aladdin?
As you may very well know, Disney has been re-releasing its older cartoon movies these past several years. Disney re-released the movie Aladdin last year, featuring Will Smith as the Genie— and, might I add, Disney used some incredible CGI effects in the new movie, not to mention fun choreographed dances, new story-lines, and present-day social themes.
While I found the new version of Aladdin very entertaining, I still prefer the 1992 cartoon movie from my childhood. I watched the cartoon with my two boys last year, and I distinctly heard God speaking to me through the movie, just like He did with The Lion King and Cars when we watched them last year as well.
So, without further ado, below are three faith-based takeaways from Aladdin that I’d like to share with you today:
#1: God is not a genie in a lamp.
The movie Aladdin revolves around a magical Genie who grants Aladdin three wishes. How often does society view God as a “wish granter”? How often do we only turn to God when we need him the most? Sadly, too often. We cannot place God in a tiny little box (or lamp) and stow him away on a shelf, collecting dust, only to bring Him out and ask Him for help when we need him.
Genie was a slave. He served his master, and he was obligated to grant his master’s wishes. As Christians, God should be our Master, not the other way around. We don’t call the shots— God does.
In the movie, Genie and Aladdin’s friendship was limited as long as Genie was the slave. It wasn’t until Aladdin finally set the Genie free that their relationship truly blossomed, and the Genie had the power then to do immeasurably more for Aladdin (and for others) than Aladdin could have ever possibly imagined.
Have you set God free? Does He have free reign in your life? If you keep him hidden away, sitting on a distant shelf in your life, you will remain enslaved to the desires of the world, and you may greatly miss out on some of the blessings He has planned for you.
#2: God wants us to be humble.
In the movie, Aladdin initially thinks of himself as a poor “street rat” and doesn’t think he’s worthy of Princess Jasmine’s love. He instead asks the Genie to turn him into a rich Prince, and he’s brought into the city with a great big entourage! But it’s all a façade. He’s not really a prince; he’s just pretending to be one.
As the movie progresses, Aladdin starts to believe in his new, self-made identity. He lets the grandeur and riches take hold of his heart, and he places his own needs and desires in front of others. Aladdin even breaks his promise to Genie— the promise to set him free— and Genie is deeply crushed.
At the end of the movie, however, Aladdin has a change of heart, and he humbles himself and stays true to his real identity. When he finally does that, everything he dreamed of— the girl, life in the palace, and his new best friend— are all given back to him, but this time he values these gifts even more than before.
Had he continued to selfishly live in denial, thinking too highly of himself and placing his needs before others, he more than likely would have missed out on the precious gifts that were given to him in the end. In the same way, we may miss out on many of God’s blessings when we place our own desires in front of His.
In Matthew 20:16, Jesus says, “The last shall be first, and the first last.” When we place God first in our lives and remain humble, He will place us first in His kingdom. And just like Aladdin and Genie’s friendship blossomed, so too will your relationship with God become more authentic and cherished when you place Him first in your life.
#3: God wants to share a whole new world with us.
As I grew up watching Aladdin, I absolutely loved the song, A Whole New World. In fact, I recall singing it so much that I even created new lyrics for it. The lyrics were silly in nature— something along the lines of washing dishes and folding laundry. I was ten, after all.
But last year, when I heard the song again while watching the movie with my boys, I could distinctly hear God speaking to me as if He were singing the song to me and to the world in general. It sounded to me like He was saying, “I want to show you a whole new world. I can open your eyes; take you wonder by wonder.”
When we choose to follow God and place our trust in Him, our lives become changed, and our eyes are opened to a whole new way of thinking, living, and loving others. We can’t see the wonders He has in store for us unless we follow Him.
Towards the beginning of the song, Aladdin extends his hand out to Princess Jasmine and asks her, “Do you trust me?” God is doing the exact same thing with us. He is reaching out to us, extending His hands and asking us to trust Him so that He can share a whole new world with us.
To end this post, I invite you to watch a brief video on YouTube of myself and my kids. Just like I changed the lyrics to A Whole New World when I was ten years old, I changed them again as an adult, but this time with how I imagine God speaking to us and asking us to share in His world with Him.
May God bless you and grant you the desires of your humble heart, not as a Genie but as a loving Father, as He reigns freely over your life and as you continue to place your trust in Him… allowing Him to take you wonder by wonder.
Other Disney-themed posts by Faith & Family First: