Lent was never intended to be the only time we practice self-denial, living the rest of the year in self-indulgence.  But we do need appointed times in our lives to truly practice self-denial, to strengthen us for the regular times.  It is to be a remembrance time, walking the wilderness with Jesus, reminding us to ever resist temptation, deny ourselves and take up our cross as a lifestyle.  Jesus said if we do not do this we cannot be His disciple.  Self-denial is one mark of being Christian.

“Whoever does not carry his own cross and come after Me cannot be My disciple.” Luke 14:27 (NASB)