Self-Preservation at Its Best

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It's been said that self-preservation is a basic instinct. But what's key to preserving oneself? Is it self-indulgence or is self-control a more valuable asset?

When our hearts start wandering, they are not the best guide. This is when self-discipline becomes important.

Is your life driven by desire or guided by discipline? Each has a very different end point.


Drink water out of your own cistern and running water from your own well. Why should water flow out of your spring? Why should your streams flow into the streets? They should be yours alone, so do not share them with strangers. [vss 15-16]

Let your own fountain be blessed, and enjoy the girl you married when you were young, a loving doe and a graceful deer. Always let her breasts satisfy you. Always be intoxicated with her love. Why should you, my son, be intoxicated with an adulterous woman and fondle a loose woman’s breast? [vss 17-20]

Each person’s ways are clearly seen by the Lordand he surveys all his actions. [vs 21]

A wicked person will be trapped by his own wrongs, and he will be caught in the ropes of his own sin. He will die for his lack of discipline and stumble around because of his great stupidity. [vss 22-23]

  (Proverbs 5:15-23 NCV) [Context– Proverbs Chap 5:7-23]

Key phrase

Each person’s ways are clearly seen by the Lord...

Digging Deeper...

  1. What is the primary focus of these exhortations? What picture is given and how is it a reminder to guard our hearts?
  2. What are the questions and encouragements directing this person to do? How is this the best kind of self-preservation?
  3. What two things are we reminded of about God and the lack of self-discipline?

Make it personal...

What areas in your life are difficult for you to have self-control?

Are there times when you feel isolated and disengaged from important relationships?

What are some simple things you can do to develop self-discipline and self-control in your life?


Our culture in America exalts self-gratification and promotes self-absorption. This is a destructive and disruptive focus. When desire is pursued—whatever its flavor—and comes up empty, what is left? Relationships are tossed aside and disillusionment is the reward.

Self-discipline and self-control are not popular topics in our culture, yet there is great need for them. In the end, a person who is not driven by desire and who honors valuable relationships will enjoy the best kind of self-preservation.