The head coach of the Chicago Bears says his faith in Christ gives him peace in life and that the closer he grows to God, the "more truth you see."
Matt Eberflus, who is in his second year with the Bears, told the Sports Spectrum Podcast that he was raised Eastern Orthodox and served as an altar boy, but he didn't truly study the life of Jesus until he was an adult. That turning point came several years ago, he said.
"And my whole life I was studying football, of course, and I was studying military history. But I never really studied the man Jesus – never studied Him. And I just said, 'I'm diving into it.'"
He drove to a Barnes and Noble, walked to the religious section, and saw the book So, You Want To Be Like Christ? by Charles Swindoll. He bought it.
"I read that, and I've read multiple number of his books," Eberflus told the Sports Spectrum Podcast. "... And about seven years ago, I started doing the One Year Bible, so I've done it seven times now."
Eberflus previously held the defensive coordinator role for the Indianapolis Colts under then-head coach Frank Reich, an outspoken Christian. Eberflus said of his spiritual growth while studying the life of Christ, "It's remarkable how He cleans … and how you change from the inside out. And you can affect other people."
"When you're walking with the Lord, He kind of reveals things to you and shows you where it's going. And our call is really to bring others to Christ … lead like Jesus. And that's what we're trying to do."
The Bears coach said he has learned "emotional stability, how to have self-control, how to really be yourself, and be one with Him" by studying Jesus.
"The closer you get to God, the more truth you see. And sometimes it's revealing, and you have to get on your knees and pray and say, 'Lord, you know, I want to be like you. And please take this part away from me. … And that's the walk you have every day. It's 'take up your cross' that to me is so important."
He paraphrased Matthew 22:37-39, saying it is key to his life.
"It says, 'Love the Lord with all your heart and your soul. And the second thing is love your neighbor as yourself.' So that, to me, are the two most important commandments, and that's how we're going to live."
The Bears finished 3-14 last season as they continued to build a team around second-year quarterback Justin Fields. Their first game is on Sept. 10 against Green Bay.
Photo courtesy: ©Getty Images/Michael Reaves/Staff
Michael Foust has covered the intersection of faith and news for 20 years. His stories have appeared in Baptist Press, Christianity Today, The Christian Post, the Leaf-Chronicle, the Toronto Star and the Knoxville News-Sentinel.