"Why can't you just kill yourself after you've accepted Jesus as your savior?"
One of my close nonbeliever friends recently posed this question to me. I previously explained to her what Christians believe about getting saved, namely that you have to accept Jesus as your Savior in order to get to heaven. Even if you sin afterwards, if you truly accept Jesus and his teachings, then you will go to heaven. It's debatable how much you truly accept Jesus if you start murdering people, etc., so we'll save that for another conversation (in the end, God is the only one who gets to decide anyways based on what He sees in your heart).
So her reasoning was that when you truly accept Jesus as your Lord and Savior, why can't you just kill yourself so that you never falter from that belief? You'll have fulfilled the requirement to get into heaven, so you can just go be with God eternally happily ever after, right? Yes and no.
Your life is a gift from God, and God has a purpose for it. How do you know what that purpose is? First, Jesus gave us the Great Commandment, which has two parts. The first is to love God with all your heart. The second is to love each other as you love God.
Jesus also gave us the Great Commission to guide our lives. It includes the following:
- Worship - love God with all your heart
- Fellowship - love and build your relationships with others around you, friends and family
- Discipleship - learn to become more like Jesus everyday, to embody the qualities he had.
- Ministry - Serve the church community around you to help it fulfill its role locally.
- Mission - Spread the Good News around the world, i.e. let nonbelievers know that Jesus died for their sake if they are willing to listen and accept his gift. Otherwise, let your life and actions be a testimony of how Jesus changed your life.
If you kill yourself, then you are "refusing" to do what God had intended for your life. It's a selfish act (sin = selfishness), which is performed to free yourself from the pain and suffering in this world. However, it also ends your ability to serve God and serve others. Someone who kills themselves is putting themselves and their wants and needs before everyone else. (My random thought on suicide: If you're a believer, it’s harder to do because you know you are disobeying God. If you're not a believer, it’s "easier" because life is generally framed as a self-centered existence without the presence of a higher power.)
Does how well you fulfill God's purpose for your life matter?
Yes, it determines the reward you will get in heaven. Accepting Jesus will get you into heaven, but how well you obeyed will determine the extent of your reward. What is the reward? I don't know, and I don't think anyone will ever really be able to tell you. That part takes faith, but Jesus did say you'd get a reward. Part of it is eternal happiness with God. If that's not enough for you, then I don't know what to tell you. If you'd rather have 80 years of fleeting happiness than eternal joy, that's on you.
If I were to imagine it, I'd probably say the idea was like God's eternal pool party. Some of us will just get to go. Some of us will be given VIP tables and extra services. Some of us will get to be DJs. Others will get to host. Some may even get to own the hotel with the pool. Who knows. However, we do know that God will choose whomever He wants to sit at His right and left hand. Everyone else will follow, so I think it's reasonable to say there's some kind of a tiered system.
So anyways, don't kill yourself. Serve God and serve others. If you believe, you're already saved. But how badly do you want to be a DJ in heaven? Or have a VIP table with unlimited drinks? Just kidding, I don’t really drink, but you get what I mean. Do good because you're grateful that you get to go to heaven in the first place, and you may find that life really does have something truly worth living for.