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How Jesus flips around our understanding of self-image

I am a Disney adult and I am proud of it. I love going to Disney World and I just had a kid a few months ago. I have gone to Disney more times than the number of years I have been alive. However, I have realized a pattern in Disney movies and other movies as well that are teaching the completely opposite message of the Bible. I promise this message will not be used as a political platform, so before you think I am about to use the Bible to enter a culture war, just hold tight.

The Hebrew Bible begins with God creating a good world and creating one being in His image, humanity, to rule alongside Him to govern the universe However, humanity decided to not trust in God’s wisdom and guidance, but seek their own knowledge to rule the universe. Rather than acting in the image of God, humanity seeks to create their own image. This is the root of all the tension in the Bible. What happens when these beings created in the image of God reject this status and attempt to create their own image?

What does this have to do with Disney movies? Most Disney movies, on one hand, are about defying the odds and overcoming assumptions that keep us living a mundane life. That is great all on board for that. However, there is always an underlying theme of creating your own self image. In each movie, the main character breaks the bonds of the self image that they believed about themselves most of their life and the movie is all about the character creating a new image or discovering a new image for themselves.

While in a worldview that does not have God in the picture, this message is empowering and beautiful because it promotes the freedom of the human spirit. However, for a worldview that God is supposed to be in the center, what do these movies tell us to do? This is unintentional, so I am not that Facebook prophet that harps on how Disney is anti-God.

Disney is not thinking about God at all while creating their movies. However, when you are thinking through a worldview that does not have God in it in a way, it automatically becomes anti-God. Because what humans define as good and bad comes into conflict with how God would define good and bad.

Humans say creating their own image is the pinnacle of the human experience and is the only way to find life. While God shows us that living how He intended is the only way to find genuine life. Do you see how Disney and the rest of secular culture seem to attack God at times? Because the message of secularism is to create your own image, while God says that we are to live in His image.

Jesus defines genuine life as one that puts God and others above all else. We cannot elevate creating our own image and serving our own desires above serving others. Rather than living life in search of our fulfillment, what if we lived life looking to make the world around us a better place?

Jesus’ message was not, “come to me to find the ‘good life’”. Rather, His call was to come and die to your own desires in order to find true life. In our death, we do not forget ourselves; rather, we find our true identity in Christ’s resurrection.

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