Lesson 4 – The Antidote for Fear

The Antidote for Fear

Lesson Aim:  To show how fear is the culprit behind the emotional attachment people have for money.

Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal.  But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal.  For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.

The eye is the lamp of the body.  If your eyes are good, your whole body will be full of light.  But if your eyes are bad, your whole body will be full of darkness.  If then the light within you is darkness, how great is that darkness!

No one can serve two masters.  Either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other.  You cannot serve God and Money. Matthew 6:19-24


Please review the Introduction to Part IV for a commentary on Jesus’ analogy of “good eyes” in our text.  The terms on the chart in the Introduction form a Christian’s “worldview.”  Every maturing person in the world has a worldview, even though they may not be conscious of the fact.  They have formed some kind of view about the meaning of life; about what is truth.  They wonder about a spiritual world we do not perceive with our human eyes.  Every person, even at an early age, has given some thought to death and what follows.   A worldview may be defined as a commitment, a fundamental orientation that can be expressed in a set of presuppositions (assumptions which may be true, partially true, or entirely false) which we hold (consciously or subconsciously, consistently or inconsistently) about the basic constitution of reality.  Our worldview provides the foundation for the variety of paradigms with which we view our daily life scenarios.

A Christian’s worldview is unique.  It was presented to us by Jesus in His Sermon on the Mount in general, and specifically, in our text.  We live daily to serve God’s purpose in the development of our “selves,” while, simultaneously, serving God’s purpose for others.  We do serve ourselves because we serve God’s purpose for creating us to be children in His eternal kingdom.  At the same time, we serve God’s desire that all people be saved (I Tim. 2:3, 4).  All people must be saved from their varieties of fears if they will develop the attitudes of sons of God.   One of the dark spots the “good eyes of faith” negates is the fear of death.

Since the children have flesh and blood, He too shared in their humanity so that by His death He might destroy him who holds the power of death  – that is the devil – and free those who all their lives were held in slavery by their fear of death.  Heb. 2:14, 15

Fear is the culprit behind so much of the unhappiness and brutality in the world.  It is one of the major sins of humanity.  Fear may be more devastating to a healthy personality than anger because much of what “fires off our anger” is about survival.  See Part III, Lesson Two.  In a careful study of fear we will find, in one way or another, fear is attached to our inherent need for survival.  In the absence of a resurrection program from physical death, death is the culprit behind our fears about survival.  A person’s worldview should be free of our many conscious and unconscious fears.  Some fear complexes get locked away from our memory in our “unconscious” state of mind.

In order to understand why people “store up for ourselves treasures on earth” we will need to understand a few things about the nature of fear, especially about the deceptiveness of the source of our fears.  Why do we make a treasure out of something we know we will leave behind when we die?  There, the words have been said that set off so many fears, “when we die.”  Some people have so many fears of this subject they will not even utter the word, “death.”

There are different varieties of fears:

  1. There are myriads of timid souls who daily tread a miserable path because they do not have the courage to step up to life on a higher path.  They appear to fear almost everything.
  2. Other people become controlled by their fears in times of crisis.  Peter’s fear of death controlled his tongue when he denied he knew Jesus.

Fear can be categorized at different levels of consciousness.

  1. There are things we are afraid of and we know it.
  2. Phobia is another category of fear.  Phobia is defined as an exaggerated and illogical fear of a particular object or class of objects.  The person is conscious of fear but he or she has no clear knowledge of the cause.
  3. Some people manifest behaviors caused by fear but he or she may not feel fear.  They may not feel fear; however, their behavior is cowardly.  Being overly sensitive, irritable or conceited may be behaviors fostered by fear.  At this level a person is not feeling fearful but they could be classified as “yellow.”  Men fear this stigma.  Some men live their lives in response to fearing they are cowards.  This can promote overt efforts to prove they are brave – the he-man type of activity.

There is another psychological concept of which we need to be aware in order to understand the evil in the nature of fear.  It is called a complex.  Every mental reaction and thinking has its roots in some emotional core – perhaps, stored in our midbrain.  The following are three groups of mental reactions:

  1. One group includes our conscious attitudes, or convictions, loyalties, our allegiances.  These are powerful emotions, even though they may not be completely rational.
  2. We are not always conscious of all our mental reactions that foster certain behaviors.  We have sub-conscious attitudes that control our decisions such as taste, etc.  Generally, we are not conscious of why we like what we habitually eat.  We can live with these sub-conscious attitudes.  In fact, it would be difficult to live without them.
  3. People also have unconscious attitudes that are called “complexes.”  A complex is defined as a group of repressed desires and memories that exert a dominating influence on personality.  We need to have some understanding of this in order to fully appreciate what Jesus meant when He said, “If then the light within you is darkness, how great is that darkness!”  Complexes are formed when people repress an incident completely from consciousness.  They have no recall of the incident of which they are fearful.

Complexes can govern thinking and behavior more completely than the conscious attitudes but in unrecognized forms.  People with complexes suffer with phobias.  Fear attitudes are disintegrative; however, complexes are of the more disruptive nature.  Fear and guilt are the underlying cause of all repressions.  People who suffer with complexes are prone to attach a disguised fear or shame to an element of the situation they repressed.  The problem is that they fear certain situations but do not know why.  The only cure may be to seek help to discover the fear or shame they repressed.

In any case, God’s forgiveness is necessary for full recovery.  One of the main graces Christians benefit from faith in the doctrine of “justification by faith” is peace with God (Rom. 5:1).  Peace is the antidote for fear.  Justification allows us to examine the good and bad of our past lives.  We can open up some past scenario without feeling guilty about our behavior.  This can help rid us of the dark shadows complexes cast from our sub-consciousness.

Sometimes an unconscious fear will arise which is compensated for, not by phobia, but by a seemingly satisfactory protection.  The individual will attach a type of love to the protecting element.  The love of money is an example.  Any thrill or affection that one experiences for money is a conditioned response.

A conditioned response develops when a person attaches love to the protecting element and not to the real protector.  All people need to be alert to our conditioned responses.  How does it happen?  For example, a dog’s master was in the habit of feeding his dog at a certain time.  When the hour came the dog would begin to salivate because it was conditioned to expect food at that hour.  This is called Pavlov conditioning.  Mr. Pavlov conditioned a dog to salivate when he rang a bell in the absence of food.  First he fed the dog without ringing the bell.  Then he fed the dog and rang the bell at the same time.  Next he merely rang the bell and because the dog had been conditioned to anticipate food along with the bell ringing, it would salivate in anticipation of being fed at the sound of a bell.


People in the world who are ruled by the devil have been conditioned to worship money instead of God.  They have been conditioned to think of money as the provider for their needs.  When affection for the substitute is a real conscious emotion, it can be said, “We love money.”  However, since people are conditioned to love money based on the subconscious fear of insecurity and deprivation, they cannot integrate their personality around loving the substitute – Mammon.  “No one can serve two masters.”  We cannot integrate our personality on duplicity.  Christians have a “single eye” worldview.  We love and serve God because He is the real provider.

The first question of utmost importance for Christians is, “Has the culture of Satan conditioned me to substitute the buying power of money for the power of God Almighty?” God is the real provider.  Has my fear of poverty been repressed into my sub-conscious mind where it has developed a complex?  Perhaps, I have made money my substitute protector for my fear of “I don’t know what?”  Do I, indeed, love money?  Do I treasure money?  Many of us may want to answer some of these questions with a, “well, maybe.”

Am I busy trying to store up money because I have been conditioned to depend on money to satisfy my need for food, clothing and shelter?  We will take up this question in our next lesson.  In this lesson we want to understand the connection between money and our affections.  In order to take up this study we have explained some things about fear in our introduction.  Most of these thoughts came from a book entitled, “The Psychology of Christian Personality” by Ernest M. Ligon.

Jesus never used fear to promote righteous behavior.  He offered the antithesis of fear.  It is peace and fellowship with God.  Jesus saved people from fear by showing us how to have peace with our Father in heaven.  He also taught us how to have peace with what we fear.  Since we fear the people who hate us, Jesus has taught us to love our enemies.  Fear must be replaced by peace before we will have courage to live abundant productive lives (II Pet 1:8, 9).  Jesus taught us how to have peace with our neighbor in order to attain their help to find satisfaction for our innate needs.  We will take up this study in Part V.  There is a continuum attachment between our innate needs and the possibility of developing fear emotions as we will see in our next lesson.

Now let us investigate why Christians often try to “serve two masters.”  As any parent can tell you, children are not born with the fears the parents possess.  This is not to say children are not born with a need for safety.  Their innate need for safety is one entity around which parents can build integrated personalities in their children.  Our need for security is why maturing youth and adults need the doctrine of the resurrection (Acts 4:2; 23:6, 7; 24:15).  We cannot depend on our doctors to give us security forever.  If people do not have security based on the resurrection of the dead, they have fear with which to contend while living in an aging body.  We can see what Jesus meant about “darkness” filling our lives when we don’t have answers for the satisfaction of our innate drives.

However, the fears many parents drive deep into their children’s sub-conscious at an early age has a disintegrating power over their children (Col. 3:21).  Parents don’t cast their fears onto their children because they don’t love them.  In fact, it is precisely because we do love them that we sometimes, inadvertently, drive fear deep into their sub-conscious “self.”  We don’t want them to fall down the stairs, get run over by a car or drink poison.  They were not born with the fear of these things and they are too young to understand our wise explanations.

So what shall we do?  Shall we scream at them when we see them encounter danger?  Perhaps a spanking would give them protection in the future?  The stairs, the car or the poison is not, within itself, something to fear.  When we use fear to control their behavior, we may save them from some bumps and bruises; however, we do great damage to the strength of their character by developing fear emotions instead of trust.  We want our children to trust and obey us (Eph. 6:1-4).   Consequently, we will need to trust and obey our Father in heaven.  Christian parents follow Jesus’ teaching and examples.  He used peace rather than fear to keep the total person from harm.  Jesus’ rules for safety gave more emphasis on the “inner-man” than their body in His Sermon on the Mount (Matt. 6:25).

It is notable how few scriptures we have in God’s word on “child rearing.”  The fact is that every scripture we find for ourselves, as Christian parents, are for the rearing of His children – the children God has let us rear for Him (Isa. 43:6, 7).  In their formative years children’s learning is mostly in the passive mode.  Long before we send them to school for “forced book learning” we have endowed them with peace or fear – trust or mistrust.  Our children learn from the expression of our emotions and behavior.  If their parents are laden with fear, they will surely pass their fears on to their children.  If parents love money because they rely on it as a comforter for their fears, their children will love money.

Parents’ fears are not the only fears cast on children.  Their non-Christian neighbors may dump their fear of death on them.  The society they are thrust into is dominated with fear.  Ceaseless wars and rumors of wars are fueled by fear.  Riots are motivated by fear.  What appears to be societies’ answer to all these fear emotions and chaos?  Children are told, if not by word, but certainly by deeds, they need to have money.

Consequently, if parents seek “treasures on earth” to placate their fear emotions, then their children will learn to accept money as a seemingly satisfactory protector.  There is nothing about money, in and of itself, that should create an emotion; consequently, we need to understand that if money does elicit an emotion, we have been conditioned by our parents or society to love money.  It is not money, but the emotional value attached to money, that determines its effect on personality.  It is impossible to build a strong personality around money, because by its very nature fear is involved.  The love for money is built on fear of insecurity (I Tim. 6:6-10).

People who store up for themselves treasures on earth “where thieves break through and steal,” do indeed, fear that very thing.  Their wealth simply becomes another cause of fear.  Add to this the fear of poverty, fear of germs in relation to one’s health and fear that is related to repressed sex urges; life can become full of darkness (Luke 16:14, 15).  What is the answer?  As the adage goes, “If there is not a change things will remain the same.”  We cannot stop our fear complexes from controlling our behavior by continuing to depend on the things that caused them in the first place.  What is the needed change?  People must make a change in their worldviews (Luke 18:22-25).

Christians with a “good eye of faith” see God as the real protector.  People love whatever, or whomever, they believe can and will cooperate with us for the satisfaction of our needs (Matt. 6:26, 27).  We cannot serve two masters, that is, we cannot be dedicated to two masters.  Christians are slaves to God (Rom. 6:22).  Sports players cannot split their allegiance with the opposing teams.  They will love one and fear the other.  The world culture has accepted “mammon” or material wealth as their “security blanket.”  Christians decided to love God because of justification of life in Jesus Christ and because He created us.  He also created the material things for our needs while we live on earth.  Because we have peace with God we will hate the darkness that fear brings over our lives.  God is the one who feeds all people (Acts 14:15-17).  We appreciate our scientists because they have discovered many useful laws of nature; however, to this day they have not created one new seed for our food supply.  We can use money to purchase our supplies but money is not the basic supplier.  God is the Creator and we love Him for who He is and what He does for us.

The blessing “in Christ” makes it possible for Christians to be free from the fear of death, thereby, removing the basic cause of fear.  Because of the peaceful environment in Christ and our worldview of eternal life in God’s kingdom as His children, we can lay up for ourselves treasures in heaven.  The treasures we are laying up are the healthy emotional attitudes and strong character Jesus taught in Matthew, chapter five.  We are now alive to God so it is only our body that will die (Rom. 8:9-11).  Our character and personality will survive our physical death; therefore, they are treasures we are preparing for heaven.  The single eye and our heart agree that heaven is where we want to have our treasures.


When we practice our righteousness to be seen of God we receive a reward.  For instance, we give alms for the purpose of helping those who need.  If our only motive is to help, our heart is softened.  God rewards us with a soft heart.  This is a useful reward now and in eternity.  There are many rewards for a properly motivated prayer.  There is a great strength for our character just by being in God’s presence.  Fasting gives us control over our physical appetites and allows us to have a better concentration on spiritual things.  Fasting works with our prayers when we are faced with big challenges.  All of these rewards are useful tools now and they become treasures for eternity.

How does a particular item become a treasure?  A diamond can be used as a tool for cutting very hard metals.  It can also be used as an object to admire in a glass case.  The rewards that God gives us when we practice our righteousness to be seen of Him are useful tools in this world and they become treasures for the next world.  If we stop using these rewards as tools in this world they can become treasures.  Treasures in this world are subject to rust and the hands of thieves (James 5:1-3).

Jesus stated a spiritual law when He said, “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”  It is like the law of gravity, that’s the way it is.   People are emotional about their treasures.  A treasure is a strong motivating force for bringing out the strength of our character.  Jesus pronounced a treasure that accompanied each of the eight healthy attitudes (Matt. 5:3-10).  Anything that captures our heart can be used to motivate us to a higher life.  Therefore, laying up treasures becomes a goal or focal point of our emotional attitudes.  Any time we can find anything to integrate our emotional attitudes, then we have found something that will strengthen our character.  Goals that can be attained during our lifetime are not futuristic enough.  The problem is when we reach the goal we become disintegrated.  There is no treasure on earth strong enough for the integration of all of our inherent equipment.  For they can be achieved, lost or corrupted.  When this happens we are without a goal to keep us integrated; therefore, our character is weakened.

The only place our treasures are safe is in heaven.  Heaven is a place of immortal and imperishable things (I Pet. 1:3-5).  If our vision is foresighted enough to see ourselves as children of God with our inheritance in heaven it will motivate us to “Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.”  Matt. 5:48.  Christians continue to grow spiritually until the day we put off our bodies.  However, if we have no vision of heaven our whole future is in jeopardy.  “If then the light within you is darkness, how great is that darkness!”

Questions For Discussion

  1. What is a worldview?
  2. What is unique about a Christian’s view?
  3. How does the fact of death relate to our text?
  4. Why might fear be more devastating to our spiritual growth than anger?
  5. People in the world have a tendency to store up treasures on earth; however, they understand they cannot keep these treasures because of their death.  What do we need to understand in order to avoid becoming one of the builders of treasures on earth?
  6. Explain how a complex develops.
  7. Why is a complex disintegrating for character and personality?
  8. What is the antidote for fear?  Please explain your answer.
  9. How does a person become addicted to the love of money?
  10. Explain the process of a person’s responses becoming conditioned to stimuli.
  11. What has happened to people who love money?
  12. What is the result of trying to serve two masters?
  13. What tool did Jesus use to promote proper behavior?
  14. Name the tool parents often use.  What is the result when this tool is used?
  15. Why do we not find many scriptures in the Bible that specifically speak to the rearing of children?
  16. Explain how children learn to love money.
  17. Why is it impossible to integrate our lives on the love of money?
  18. Identify the treasures Christians can “lay up in heaven” while we live on earth.
  19. When a person learns they have been conditioned to love money instead of God, what is the first thing that must be changed?
  20. Why do people need a vision for their future beyond their death?

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