Alice Cooper: You’re My Temptation

Mercy, please. I’m on my knees. You’re my temptation.

Temptation is cool these days. You didn’t realise that? Sure it is. Every second ad on TV wants you to give into temptation. Giving into temptation is what all the cool kids do. Temptation leads to all the fun stuff our parents told us not to do. So, what’s your temptation?

When Alice Cooper put together his album The Last Temptation, he wanted to explore the idea of temptation. Temptation had ceased to have much negative impact. Temptation led to fun, not damnation. We were being led from boring conservatism over to unrestrained hedonism. Temptation has become a good thing. It was no longer the things that lured us away from righteousness into unrighteousness. It was no longer the means by which we abandoned the will of God for our own selfish pleasure, which inevitably led to Hell. Our modern world had twisted something so wrong and perverse and made it something desirable.

In The Last Temptation, the young boy Steven is on the verge of becoming a man. A mysterious theatre owner is trying to lure Steven into becoming a member of his show. He tempts him with riches and fame. Scares him with visions of the future. But the real temptation for Steven, the thing that he struggles most to resist, is the female carnival member Mercy.

Don’t touch your lips
Don’t wear your hair like that
I feel your presence all around me
Don’t get too close
Don’t move your eyes like that
Because they’re deep enough to drown me
It don’t get hot like this in Heaven
You fool me with your angel face
Your master knows where I’m my weakest

Mercy please, I’m on my knees
You’re my temptation
Measure my faith, the devil’s awake
He knows you’re my temptation

Don’t call my name
Don’t brush my cheek like that
I curse the day that I found you
Don’t touch my skin
Don’t dance around like that
I feel damnation all around you
And so I raise my voice to Heaven
Please hide me in some holy place
Protect my soul, I’m only human

Mercy please, I’m on my knees
You’re my temptation
Look down and see
Deliver me from my dark sensation
Give me faith, don’t let me waste
You’re my temptation

Come to me
You’re such a liar
Won’t you come to me
Move closer to the fire
Just come to me
No, no, no
Won’t you come to me I will set you free
No, no, no

Mercy please, I’m on my knees
You’re my temptation
Measure my faith, the devil’s awake
He knows you’re my temptation
Mercy please, I’m on my knees
You’re my temptation
Go away in Heaven’s name
You’re my temptation
Go away, just go away
My dark sensation

Mercy’s very presence is alluring. The way she stands, the way she dresses, the way she does her hair. Steven is keen on Mercy. She is his temptation. He wants to give in to her. He knows he would do anything to be with her. But he knows that Mercy is no good for him. That he will lead her somewhere he doesn’t want to go. He knows joining the show will lead to damnation. He can feel Hell’s flames licking at him as he approaches her. But she is everything that he wants. Will giving up everything be worth it if he ends up with the girl?

Every day we are tempted. There are things thrown in our path to lead us away from God. And we ask ourselves the question “Is it worth it?” Should I have sex with that woman I’m not married to? Should I steal that CD that I want? Should I punch that idiot who won’t shut up in the face? All of these temptations, big and small. And they look so appealing. They’re desirable. We may even think that we can have it all. That we can be true to God’s will for our lives at the same time as indulging in sin. Temptation leads to sin. Temptation is the Devil’s greatest tool to turn us away from God and into a life that ends up in Hell. Is temptation attractive? Of course it is. Other wise it would be useless.

The Bible calls us to pray that we don’t fall prey to temptation. The Lord’s prayer says “And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.” (Matt 6:13) Paul warns us not to succumb to temptation because it leads to damnation – “People who want to get rich fall into temptation and a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires that plunge men into ruin and destruction.” (1 Tim 6:9). And we know there is a reward for those who stay true. By avoiding temptation, but successfully staying on the path and remaining true to the one God, we will be standing firm on the final day – “Blessed is the man who perseveres under trial, because when he has stood the test, he will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love him.” (James 1:12)

What’s your temptation? What things, both small and large, tempt you away from God? Is it the opposite sex? Is it alcohol and the party lifestyle? Is it material possessions? Is it the security of work and family relationships dragging you away from your Christian brothers and sisters? What’s your temptation? And more importantly, can you feel the flames? Are you so close to the fire that you’ve already been burnt and don’t know it?

Follow Steven’s example. Raise your voice up to Heaven. Ask God for help. He knows you’re only human. He knows that you’re sinful and that your urges pull you away from him. Ask him for his help. Ask him to use his Holy Spirit to keep you away from temptation. To turn your heart to the will of God. God will hear your prayers. He will never put more on your plate than you can handle. And he will be with you as you struggle. Avoid temptation and be standing firm on that final day.

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About Joel A Moroney

Associate Minister at St Luke's Anglican Church, Liverpool (in the Sydney Diocese). A very strange man, but he usually has Pez, so that makes it okay.
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