Mark 7:14-23 And he called the people to him again and said to them, “Hear me, all of you, and understand: There is nothing outside a person that by going into him can defile him, but the things that come out of a person are what defile him.” And when he had entered the house and left the people, his disciples asked him about the parable. And he said to them, “Then are you also without understanding? Do you not see that whatever goes into a person from outside cannot defile him, since it enters not his heart but his stomach, and is expelled?” (Thus he declared all foods clean.) And he said, “What comes out of a person is what defiles him. For from within, out of the heart of man, come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, coveting, wickedness, deceit, sensuality, envy, slander, pride, foolishness. All these evil things come from within, and they defile a person.”
In reading the passage I kept thinking about how, oftentimes we think that following all of the religious traditions and laws makes us pure. The truth is though, that following these traditions in a legalistic manner means nothing to God.
What makes me pure is having Christ in my heart, and following Him obediently. Accepting His forgiveness, and giving my life over to Him. If I don't have Him in my heart and have constant fellowship with Him, then the things that will be coming out of me are the things that defile me and make me impure because those religious traditions alone offer no remedy to the evil within us.
Simply calling oneself a Christian, following religious rituals and rules of man to be seen as religious...that doesn't make a person a good Christian. It merely puts us in fellowship with men. Unless we confess our sins, accept His forgiveness, give Him our hearts and willingly follow Him, we will still be far from Him.
Going to church, reading my bible consistently, praying regularly and active participation on my end of my relationship with Christ should come purely out of my willingness to accept Him into my heart and obedience to Him for all that He has done for me. By accepting Him into my heart, and following obediently, my heart is cleansed.