Our kids love the book "Basil the Branch". It's the story of a branch that tried to produce a bunch of grapes himself.
No matter how hard Basil tried and how much effort he put into making a bunch of grapes, he couldn't. Suddenly he heard a voice behind him asking what he was doing. Basil explains he is trying to make a bunch of grapes. The voice being (God's) said, "Well, I'm the vine, and you can't make a bunch of grapes all by yourself; you just have to stay connected to me, and I'll make it happen".
How often are we like "Basil?" We try to do things alone? We can be very independent, deciding that we don't need anyone or anything to help. However, just like Basil the branch, we aren't designed to produce "good fruit" all by ourselves.
Jesus described himself as the vine and those who have asked him to be part of their lives as the branches. Apart from Him, he said we can do nothing.
We will eventually run out of steam, and our "fruit" won't last long if we manage to produce any. In our ability, we can't be loving, kind, patient, long-suffering, joyful, peaceful, good, self-controlled, gentle, or faithful enough all the time. Let alone do the works of healing, miracles and demonstrations of power that Jesus said we would do. (John 14:2)
Independent from our vine (Jesus), we will soon be straining, lacking power and too often making a mess of our relationships and personal inner world.
Jesus said, "I am the vine; you are the branches. Those who remain in me, and I in them, will produce much fruit. For apart from me, you can do nothing.. you remain in me, and my words remain in you; you may ask for anything you want, and it will be granted!" (John 15:5-7)
Instead of straining and exhausting yourself, why don't you relax, take your eyes and focus off yourself and your ability, and look at Jesus and what He can do in and through you?
Just as all the nutrients needed to make a branch produces fruit flow from the vine, all that we need to be the people we were created to be flows from our connection with Jesus. No stressing and straining, just connection.
Check how you are connected to Jesus today. Then relax, keep focused on his ability, and enjoy the "fruit".
"He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together." (Colossians 1:17)
Prayer: Jesus, forgive me when I have been trying to produce "good fruit" myself. Please help me to check my connection to you right now and to take my focus off myself and onto you. In Jesus Name, Amen.