Last night, a woman that we know called my wife and asked if she could come over and get my wife's opinion on a project she's working on. My wife agreed, and just before this woman arrived, I left for a bike ride. I returned twenty minutes later to find this woman sitting on our couch, and another woman sitting on the other couch next to my wife with her materials spread out before her. This stranger invited me to sit in on the conversation, which was her first really big mistake, and I accepted.
I immediately recognized her materials, and said so. She asked if she could share with me what she had been sharing with my wife for the past twenty minutes (poor Tanya), and I politely but firmly advised her that, "We're not interested." She was shocked by my straight-forwardness but, gathered herself, and made another attempt, almost as though she didn't hear what I said. You see, this woman was there to share with us another gospel. However, as determined as she was to speak her piece, what she failed to recognize was the fact that I already knew first hand the deception of the false gospel she was there to proclaim, and I wasn't about to give it a hearing.
I answered her memorized questions with questions that rocked her, and forced her to stammer, stumble, and regain her composure before answering the questions. I advised her a second time that we are not interested. I made no attempt to give reasons, to debate, or to share our faith with her. No, the enemy had brought this lady to our house to try to hold us captive long enough to spew its false gospel. That woman was deceived and was not searching for truth, but for converts, so this was not a battle to see who could convince the other. This was a battle over what spirit would dominate the conversation and the atmosphere, and hers just didn't have the goods to quench the Spirit of Christ in our home.
This woman brought a gospel that was very familiar to me; a gospel that I once embraced in the past, as a matter of fact. Her savior promises a better life, freedom to do the things that you really want to do, more free time, a secure future for yourself and your family, and it of course comes complete with a community of people who are there simply to help you reach your goals. These people promise joy and satisfaction, financial freedom and purpose. They meet regularly in hotels and meeting halls to celebrate their savior and to encourage one another in their journey to their promised land. Are you starting to figure out what gospel this is she was bringing? You guessed it. She was bringing the false gospel of MLM or Multi-Level Marketing.
In this woman's frustration over having to deal with me, she finally gave up. She gathered herself and her materials, gave one last plea for us to attend her meeting on Monday, for the sake of our family and our future, and excused herself to go "lick her wounds".
That was just one small battle over our time and the atmosphere of our home, but the war that still claims the lives of many Christians continues. That false gospel that promises financial freedom, security, fulfillment, and purpose or joy in what one does with their time continues to deceive many who name the name of Jesus Christ. In fact, "coincidentally", today I heard advertised on the Christian radio station a "Christian" MLM program, and the ad stated the following: "Many [Christians] are already earning a comfortable income and enjoying life a lot more." Christians are now touting that false gospel on Christian radio. The flesh has no sense and the devil has no conscience.
Last night, I sat and watched a woman covered with chains and shackles attempt to tell me the way to freedom. There is no financial freedom to be found in MLM. The only financial freedom is the freedom of being bound to Christ's will in all areas of your life. Just as Jesus said that he that is faithful in least (money) is faithful in much (the true riches of the Kingdom), so you are only as bound to His will as you are bound to spend and earn only as much or as little as He desires. No, there's no freedom in being able to spend whatever you want on whatever you want, for that is only slavery to your appetites. Freedom comes from being freed from covetousness and discontentment, and with the joy of obeying your Beloved in every area of your life, including your purchases as well as your occupation.
That gospel she preaches promises security for you and your family. Only an ugly devil can puke such an ugly lie as security in anything but the secret place of the Most High God. There is no security anywhere or in anything other that Jesus Christ the Rock, and you must be safely hidden in his wounds, in the cleft of the rock, near His heart. Don't believe that dirty lie that MLM is the means that God wants to use to bring you financial freedom or security. Every thing that can be shaken is going to be shaken, including a house of cards economy built upon perceptions and paper, and I guarantee that there is no security in a financial gospel built upon the principles of MLM.
The principles of Multi-Level Marketing, which are opposed to the principles of God, are as follows:
These principles should be obvious to any Christian. However, they often arenít because multi-level often appears to be the means that the Lord might use to provide for His children that find themselves in financial trouble. Donít believe that lie. I wonít dogmatically state that God would never direct one of His children to be a part of a multi-level marketing program. However, I will give you Godís principles as they relate to the MLM principles listed above, and you will have to determine for yourself what Godís will is for you.
The first principle of MLM is greed. An MLM evangelist will never try to directly sell you on goods or services, but their primary tool to convert you is what worked on them, your own greed. They will begin by first asking you questions like, "Wouldnít you like to be able to buy that new car or be able to afford that house payment on a new beautiful home, or be able to go on vacation when ever you want?" They ask questions like, "Do you like to travel?" You see, although they will eventually get around to the program itself, the products, etc., they always begin by getting you thinking about what you could have, but donít. The driving force behind the allure of MLM is simple greed, or more often in the case of Christians, a desire to get out from under the financial pressures that they are under, usually because of violating one or more of Godís financial principles. "Ye lust, and have not: ye kill, and desire to have, and cannot obtain: ye fight and war, yet ye have not, because ye ask not. Ye ask, and receive not, because ye ask amiss, that ye may consume it upon your lusts. Ye adulterers and adulteresses, know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God." (James 4:2).
Jesus said, "Take heed, and beware of covetousness: for a man's life consisteth not in the abundance of the things which he possesseth" (Luke 12:15). Paul instructs us to not even eat with someone that claims to be a brother, and yet is covetous (1 Cor. 5:11). He also wrote that a covetous man is an idolator and that no idolator will have any part in the Kingdom of Christ (Eph 5:5). The word "covetous" means desiring more or eager for gain.
The second principle behind the existence of MLM is the desire to earn or accumulate wealth quickly or easily. The MLM evangelist will tell you how you can earn up to $6000 a month working only in your spare time. The evangelist that came to our house last night claimed, after stammering, stuttering, and looking away, that she earns $2500 a month net profit working about ten hours per week. Ten hours per week, indeed! If you ever get around an MLM person, you know that they preach that gospel 24/7. They even make claims that there are those in their organizations that have made a million dollars in a few short years. Now, what legitimate industry can promise such gains? None! If any industry makes the claim that you can make a million dollars in a few short years having no special gifts or abilities, then that industry can only be built on sin, whether that sin is gambling, pornography, chemical addiction, or greed, and that industry will exploit those that it promises to help. How many people have you known that have ended up in debt, disillusioned, and in worse financial trouble after being exploited by a multi-level gimmick? I know a few.
The desire for quick gain is the life-blood of the MLM, but the scripture promises, "A faithful man will abound with blessings, but he who hastens to be rich will not go unpunished" (Prov. 28:20 RSV).
The third principle behind MLM is that itís a system that generates income primarily through the sale of the system and secondarily through the sale of goods or services. MLM would be non-existent if not for greed and a desire to gain wealth quickly. The reason for that is that it is not a means of providing goods or services. Rather, it is a means of using manís simple desire to make money in order to create great income potential for the higher ups. Multi-Level Marketing doesnít primarily market goods or services, which are a benefit to the consumer, but rather it markets the MLM itself and itís profit-earning potential. You see, the goods and services are not what're being sold. Itís a means to get rich thatís being sold, and that just isnít a godly principle for gaining income.
The scripture says, "He becometh poor that dealeth with a slack hand: but the hand of the diligent maketh rich" (Prov. 10:4). The hand of the diligent speaks of the creative hand of man made in the image of the creator. The hand of the diligent speaks of a hand that, through the gift of God, brings forth something of beauty, value, or utility in order to bless others and to glorify God. Godís economy is built on relationship, and the things that His children create that are of real value, have both eternal and economical value because of the way in which they relate to and serve man. God blesses man through the work of manís hand, and God blesses financially the diligent hand. Thatís Godís principle; thatís Godís way. He doesnít bless with the resources of His Kingdom that which man creates, not to bless man, but to simply gain wealth. MLM does not exist to bless man with valuable goods and services, but exists to use goods in fulfilling its only purpose for existence: to "create" wealth. Of course, it doesnít really create wealth; it just moves it from the used to the users. The users are those that see others, not as human beings, but as objects to be used to build their "down-line".
Donít be deceived, Multi-Level Marketing doesn't sell a product. It sells the ability to get rich quick. It sells a life-style. It preaches a gospel of financial freedom, security, riches, and purpose. Good products donít need MLM. Greedy men and women need MLM.
Another principle behind MLM, especially as it relates to Christians, is the desire for "financial freedom". For the lost or the backslider, this can mean freedom to do the things they want to do but canít due to a lack of funds. Many times, a lack of funds is Godís grace bridling the rebellious person, keeping them from running after their idols. However, for some, "financial freedom" just means being free from the constant pressure of financial problems. It means being free to answer your phone without being afraid itís a creditor. It means being free from the discouragement of paying bills and having nothing left over to live on. It means getting "out from under". Many Christians will view MLM opportunities as a godsend, as Godís way of providing for them, as Godís answer to their cry for help.
These dear ones are usually the ones most brutally raped by MLM. Financial pressures usually come because one or more of Godís principles are violated. When we are being tried financially, all we want is "out from under". However, all God wants is to work righteousness in us. He uses the pressures in order for us to face issues in us that would never be uncovered under normal circumstances or in times of plenty. I promise you that if you are suffering financial pressures because you violated one or more of Godís financial principles, God is not going to use MLM to get you out from under the pressure. In fact, in running to MLM to escape the pressures, you are once again violating Godís principles of finance, and you will surely smart for it. God has an answer for your finances. I know in our case, it meant simple steps of obedience and faithfulness as we have climbed out of financial pressure over time. God has been so gracious. I expected a great windfall from God that would sweep away our financial problems, but had God dropped a million dollars in our lap, we would not have seen the wonderful mercy and faithfulness that Jesus has shown us over time, as we just worked with a diligent hand and trusted and obeyed him. He is so wonderful. Iím so thankful we didnít look for a way of escape, but looked for Him. We found everything we need in Him. He is so wonderful. I have found financial freedom, and itís in being bound to Godís will with cords of love. Iíve found fulfillment in a job I really donít like, because my fulfillment is in obeying Him, and Iím working this job out of obedience to Him, and He has blessed tremendously.
I know that this writing is not for you bondservants, for you already know well the truths Iíve tried to express. However, there are some of you that may be tempted by that false gospel called MLM, and itís my hope that you will treat it with the same stout rejection that I did last night when that devil came trying to spew itís filthy message in my home. I also know that there are some of you that are still smarting from your experience with MLM. Run to Jesus for forgiveness. You havenít committed the unpardonable sin. Yes, you may have squandered time and resources that were not your own, but just look at them as time and money invested in an education at the school of hard knocks. Repent and go on. He still loves you.
If you are under financial pressure, run to Jesus. He has the answer, and it wonít be a quick escape from the pressure. It will be dealing with the issues that have been a problem over time. You didnít get into trouble over night, and you wonít get out over night. However, if you will run to Him, and obey Him, you will find Him faithful, and you will find a rock of refuge from the coming storm thatís going to wipe away every Multi-Level Marketing company in existence today.