Hardcore Infantry. For 8 years of my young adult life I had the privilege to serve my country as a combat Infantryman. It was an amazing period of time, and one I’ll always prize. The adventures, the drama, the stress, and the camaraderie, filtered through the prism of time, leaves me very nostalgic now and again.
I remember a saying we used to have – Hardcore Infantry. When somebody would do something that was really tough or really exceptional we would say they were Hardcore Infantry.
Here’s how it would be used:
“Did you hear about the 10th Mountain Division? When they moved their headquarters from Georgia to New York, instead of taking vehicles, they packed their gear in their rucksack and walked!” To which somebody would respond “That’s Hardcore Infantry right there.”
Hardcore Infantry was what you wanted to be regarded as. If you were Hardcore Infantry, you had respect. People did not mess with you if you were Hardcore Infantry.
So somebody may be thinking, “Well, that’s interesting and all, but what does this have to do with the book of Romans?”
Because when you talk about the book of Romans you have to talk about its author, the Apostle Paul. And if there is one person of whom it could be said was Hardcore Infantry, it was Paul. Without a doubt of all the people I’ve known or studied, Paul was absolutely the toughest – hands down. When I look at his life, and what he suffered for the cause, quite frankly I feel, well – a little less than adequate.
If you have even a passing knowledge of Christianity, then you are at least somewhat familiar with this man known as the Apostle to the Gentiles, Paul of Tarsus.
He was a writer of over half of the New Testament as well as one of the central figures of it. (Approximately half of the book of Acts chronicles his role in the period of the Church just after Christ’s Ascension, known as the Apostolic Age). He was primarily responsible for bringing the gospel of Christ to the non-Jewish people of the first century, (mid 30s to mid 50s). He is perhaps the most influential follower of Christ who ever lived.
And the things he willingly, even gladly endured are mind-blowing:
- Countless floggings (Floggings were done using a whip made of thongs, studded with pieces of bone or metal)
- By his own account he was “often near death”
- 5 times he received 39 lashes
- 3 times he was beaten with rods
- Once he was stoned and left for dead
- 3 times he was shipwrecked
- Often without food, cold and without adequate clothing
- And many other trials and tribulations, too numerous to list here
But why? What made Paul so hardcore as to be able to persevere and triumph in the midst of such great adversity? And what can we learn from it that will help us in our journey?
We’ll look at that next time.
Until then….God bless!