Wrapping up this series on MLM in the church, I’d like to share some of the thoughts from the last section of my book, which I’ll reiterate was written over 20 years ago.

I am frequently asked, “Can you be a Christian and still be in MLM?” I would have to say, many Christians are. But my personal observation is, I have rarely seen anyone in MLM who has been able to sustain a vibrant, totally dependent, flourishing relationship with God. I feel this is because of three things. First, because of the promotional hype at the core of multi-level that causes covetousness. Second, because the system fosters discontent. Third, because of the manipulation involved which causes blind following, rather than hearing  God’s voice and doing His will. With network marketing organizations built on worldly desires and entrenched with manipulation and greed, it would be hard to jump in the water without getting wet.

In Experiencing God, Blackaby and King compare and contrast God-centered living with self-centered living. They say,

God-centered living is characterized by

  • Confidence in God
  • Dependence on God and His ability and provision
  • Life focused on God and His activity
  • Humbleness before God
  • Denying self
  • Seeking first the kingdom of God and His righteousness
  • Seeking God’s perspective in every circumstance
  • Holy and godly living1

In contrast to God-centered living, self-centered living is characterized by

  • Life focused on self
  • Pride in self and self’s accomplishments
  • Self confidence
  • Depending on self and self’s own abilities
  • Affirming self
  • Seeking to be acceptable to the world and its ways
  • Looking at circumstances from a human perspective
  • Selfish and ordinary living2

It is my opinion that MLM encourages self-centered, not God-centered living.

I believe the crux of the problem with most network marketing sales organizations is that, in order to build your business, you must exploit your contacts with friends, family and acquaintances. It’s not selling something and making a profit that’s wrong. But when you have to recruit everyone you know, using relationships for personal gain to be successful, it’s almost impossible to keep pure heart motives.

I’ll close this series by making one last point on this topic. Since Satan is the enemy of our souls and will stop at nothing to deceive, destroy, distract, and detour us, consider this:

Satan never reveals the results of sin. The sin of adultery can look alluring on television dramas. You never see the destruction that it causes, the pain inflicted on the spouse, the devastation of the divorce, the heartbroken children. The enemy just lets you see the glitter. It appeals to your senses and leads you down the road of spiritual death.

The same thing can happen in multi-level marketing. The enemy doesn’t show you the divorces, bankruptcies, adultery, infatuation with materialism, misuse of power and prestige, estranged children, destroyed friendships, and defeated Christians. He only shows you the big houses, the fancy cars, the comradery, the smiles, the vacations in Hawaii — the glitter.

The enemy will tempt you with the glitter when you’re vulnerable. Remember when he tempted Jesus? He had been fasting for 40 days and His body was weak! That’s when the enemy showed Him all that he would give Him if Jesus would just bow down and worship him. We must be aware of how the enemy tries the same thing in our lives.

Just think back to all the times you have been offered a “get rich quick” opportunity or some other possibility that appeals to the lust of the eyes or flesh. If you analyze it, you will probably see that you were at a vulnerable time in your life. Maybe you were out of money, or had just heard about layoffs coming. Whenever we are feeling a bit insecure about the future and fear sets in, watch out! Satan will be right there to tempt you!

____

I pray that this series has served as an equipping of sorts, providing insight and red flags to watch for in your own life and church.

 

1 Blackaby, King, Experiencing God, (Nashville, TN: Broadman & Holman, 1994) pages 63, 64

2 Blackaby, King, Experiencing God, (Nashville, TN: Broadman & Holman, 1994) page 64

2 Comments

  • Dear Athena,
    You have truly been through a lot on your end of things. Knowing that sales is NOT my bent, I have resisted all MLM approaches. Anything that promised me $500 to $1000 per week or more was a red flag. I knew I couldn’t sell cookies to my own mother! But God has gifted some people to be in sales. It is not the gifting that is evil, but the motivation for selling can be twisted.

    People do need to make a living, but guarding one’s heart against greed is important, too. I know that I won’t make a fortune on my book. I also know that the Lord is my provider. If enough people buy it, I may break even. The important thing is that someone, somewhere needs the light turned on. They need to see how to get to the top of the mountain where hope and life are. The confusion needs dispelled, the Good News needs to be clearly proclaimed to this generation. You cannot put a price tag on salvation. One more soul in the kingdom of Heaven is an eternal “profit.” They profit when their burden of guilt and sin is lifted. They are set free from darkness and confusion and whatever else has been controlling their life. The reward is eternal, undying, everlasting joy in the presence of Jesus forever and ever. I cannot and will not trade anything on earth for that. But I also will not let what little money I have be misused if I can help it. I need a roof over my head, clothes on my back, food on my table, friends to share it with and a means of transportation. God provides. If the whole U.S.A. and world system fails, the Lord will provide a way for me. I will follow Jesus, the author and finisher of my faith.

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