Facebook may have its issues, but I love the way I am able to reconnect with brothers and sisters in Christ from the past and pick up right where we left off. Yesterday, I received a Facebook message from a sister who saw me on TV 20 years ago when my Consumed by Success book first launched. On that show, I shared my wildly successful experience with a company that utilized the multi-level, or network marketing, business model, and the repentance that followed for leading so many believers astray.

I have to say that your testimony on Christian TV stays with me after all these years. I’ve sent many to look you up in regard to that multilevel experience you shared. There is presently a global skin care company marketing within the Church at rocket speed. Is there any way you can put that video of you on the internet?

 

I can’t believe what’s going on in the Church right now. I was visited by a former co-host of The 700 Club and hoped for some sweet fellowship but got something far different. Instead, she was adamant about my getting involved in this sweeping skin marketing concept going throughout the Church. She spoke of recognized names who are involved. They didn’t seem to be the least bit interested in what the Holy Spirit was doing, but they’re tagging Him along while cleverly selling this marketing structure. Geez. You came to mind today while they were talking to me…

Of course, the local Christian TV station where I was interviewed doesn’t keep archives that far back, so finding something to put up on the internet isn’t an option for me right now. But blogging about it sure is.

So, for the next month or more, I’ll be blogging through my multi-level marketing (MLM) story. I’ll share the process in my life that the Lord used to show me how this business model, the system, messed with my motives and became a tool of the enemy to distract me into running after worldly things, while justifying it with godly intentions.

I’ll start with a revised prologue of my first book, now long out of print, but interestingly enough, not out of date.

When I sensed the Lord telling me that He wanted me to share with the body of Christ my experiences and struggles with being consumed by success, honestly, I wanted to do a Jonah—run. I had spent the last three years in disobedience, going in the direction opposite to what God had planned for my life. The last thing I wanted to do was revisit that place of rebellion. I needed to obey and share the insights God was giving me.

 

I make some pretty strong statements in this book. I know I’ll be stepping on some toes—because I’ve been there. I’ve been sold on network marketing’s brand of free enterprise, and the concept of creating financial independence in this lifetime. The system of building a business by selling or consuming products, and recruiting others to do the same, was, for many years, very dear to my heart.

 

The model was recruiting friends and family to buy and sell the product, and motivating them to recruit others to do the same. I was convinced that this model was “the answer” to all my financial woes. I was committed to building a downline that would generate passive income in the future so I wouldn’t have to work anymore and could live off their hard work down the road. That was the dream I’d bought in to and I turned a deaf ear to anyone with negative input or attitudes and was trained to shut out anyone and anything that did not agree with my “success mentality.” Those who were not “with us” were the enemy.

 

Yes, I’ve been where maybe you, or someone you love, might be at this very moment. I was sold—lock, stock, and barrel—on the pursuit of the MLM American Dream. With blinders on, I continued down a path that almost led to my spiritual destruction.

 

I hope my story speaks to your heart. You may not agree with my final conclusion, but I trust you’ll see that my heart is to see the body of Christ hungering and thirsting for more of Jesus, rather than success and the things of this world.

 

I praise God that even when we make a mess of our lives, and finally come to the end of ourselves, He is faithful to forgive us, heal us, and deliver us.

 

Athena Dean
January, 1995

 

One thing I want to make clear…I’m not against being in business, making money, or free enterprise. What I’m addressing in this series is a system, a business model, that looks and sounds good, but can be very destructive in a believer’s life.

Hang in there with me, and I think you’ll see what I mean.

To continue reading the next post in the series, click here.

 

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