Jesus uses a stunning illustration of a vineyard in John 15 to teach his disciples what it means to be connected to himself, and allow God to form and shape their lives. Jesus is the vine, his followers are the branches, and his Father is the gardener. We learn that Jesus wants to bear fruit in the world, and that it must come through his disciples. When connected to the vine, the gardener (God) goes to great lengths to assist us (the branches) in our times of struggles (by “lifting us up,” and not “cutting us off”), and to prune away both the bad and the good things in our lives. This entails us growing in our ability to say “No” to the good things, in order to say “Yes” to the best things. Thus, enabling us to produce the kind of fruit God desires – for our freedom and His glory. All of this is possible if we stay connected to the vine.