The subject of the TV program left me shaking my head in disbelief. This particular news-magazine feature showed how some people prepare for Ash Wednesday. On Tuesday they do as much sinful stuff as they can get away with—all the time knowing that the next day they would ask for God’s forgiveness and give up those sins.

Self-denial may be a popular activity during the season of Lent, but I don’t think it’s what Jesus had in mind when He spoke of taking up one’s cross and following Him (Matt. 16:24). His call for self-denial was to a daily commitment to Him in all areas of life.

When Paul wrote to the church at Rome, he anticipated that people would believe it didn’t matter to God if they were less than totally committed to His Son. He knew that some would think it okay to go on sinning while presuming on God’s mercy. Paul found it unbelievable that people of faith would think they could “continue in sin” just so they could experience more of God’s grace. Instead, he declared that we should consider ourselves dead to sin (Rom. 6:11).

As believers in Jesus, we need to follow Him faithfully every day. It’s never right to take a time-out from our commitment to Him.